New Train Line Could Collapse David
Vibrations from construction of new high-speed train line problematic
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2011 3:26 PM CST
Michelangelo's marble statue of "David", is seen in Florence's Galleria dell' Accademia in this Monday, May 24, 2004 file photo.   (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi, File)

(Newser) – Progress could spell major trouble for Michelangelo's David: The construction of a high-speed train line beneath Florence could cause the statue to collapse, reports the Telegraph. The statue is criss-crossed with micro-fissures, especially in the left ankle area and carved tree stump he stands upon. Construction on the tunnel, due to be built about 2,000 feet from the statue, could cause damaging vibrations, prompting calls that it be moved.

"If it’s not moved before digging begins, there is a serious risk that it will collapse,” said an expert in underground engineering, who adds that the vibrations caused by tourists and street traffic are already harming the statue. One well-regarded art critic called for the project, which will bolster the city's rail links with Rome and Milan, to be canceled. "Our heritage should come before everything else. The excavation work should not go ahead." An official says the Accademia Gallery's ability to withstand earthquakes is currently being assessed, and that engineers will review the tunnel’s potential effect at the same time. (Click to read about another threat to famed art.)