Gotthard Base Tunnel

October 15, 2010 by staff 

Gotthard Base Tunnel, (AFP) – A giant drill will complete the world’s longest tunnel under the Swiss Alps on Friday, paving the way for continuing rail travel at high speed between the northern and southern Europe.

The breakthrough ceremony in the 57-km (35.4 mile) long Gotthard base tunnel, by the foot of the Alps is due to take place 30 km (19 miles) of coast and 2,000 feet below a mountain.

Eight of the tunnel about 2,500 workers have been killed since the construction of the new railway began in central Switzerland 15 years ago, blasting and boring to 13 million cubic meters of rock under hot and humid.

When it opens for service in 2017, it will exceed the 53.8 km tunnel Seikan railway connects the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido and the tunnel of the world’s longest road, 24.5 km of Laerdal in Norway.

Although close to 10 billion Swiss francs (7.0 billion) project is a Swiss citizen, he quickly acquired a continental dimension in order to relieve one of the main north-south trade routes between Germany and Italy.

EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas on Tuesday urged the new Gotthard tunnel, “a remarkable project.

Transport Ministers of 27 countries are due to attend the ceremony live on television breakthrough at a regular meeting in Luxembourg, officials said. Switzerland is not a EU member.

The tunnel would cut an hour’s journey by rail transalpine player and road freight booming off congested roads Swiss mountain more environmentally sound rail.

“The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a milestone on the road to take traffic from road to rail,” said Peter Fueglistaler, director of the Federal Office of Transport.

Switzerland nonethless hard to convince skeptical European neighbors after Swiss voters supported a motion to ban ecologist heavy trucks in the Alps – including the increasing flow of transit traffic of goods from the EU – in a shock result of the referendum in 1994.

In recent years, Austria, France and Italy have initiated two similar projects around the railway tunnel in eastern and western Alps.

“The European Union has made great progress in our direction,” said Swiss Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger.

Last month, Moritz Leuenberger presented a ticket for a post-2017 the St. Gotthard pass in each of his EU colleagues.

About 300 trains will be able to speed through the twin tube every day until 250 km / h (155 mph) for passenger trains, according to planners.

The current aging and narrow tunnel 15 kilometers further up the slopes of St. Gotthard can cope with a fraction of that capacity at least half the speed.

It was no less a feat of engineering when overall it was completed 128 years ago, which killed some 200 workers tunnel.

When the 9.5-meter (29-foot) wide tunnel drill breaks through the rock meter is on Friday, the overall cost of the new base tunnel and other rail lines revamped through the Swiss Alps will reach nearly 19 billion francs.

For the local population in the mountains, in the meantime, he brings nearly 63 years the dream of a Swiss engineer to life.

In 1947, Carl Eduard Gruner considered not only a tunnel through the foot of the mountain at the same place, but a high-speed rail network that whisk travelers between continents and allow them to stop at a gateway to the Alps.

Tentative plans for the halfway Porta Alpina station along the Gotthard tunnel has been shelved due to cost 50 million francs.

But a huge cavern and siding evacuation has been prepared under the village of Sedrun, at the foot of an elevator shaft 800 meters manufactured by South African experts and mining near certain ambitious ski resorts.

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