Implenia and Webuild win the northern portal section of the 55 km Brenner base tunnel

The excavation start ceremony was celebrated on October 28 at the foot of Viller Berg Mountain in Sill Gorge (Courtesy BBT SE)

A 50/50 joint venture between Italian Webuild and Swiss manufacturer Implenia has won a € 651 million contract for the construction of lot H41 (Sill Gorge in Pfons) of the Brenner base tunnel, the rail tunnel 55 km twin-tube planned to link Austria and Italy under the Alps.

The client, BBT SE, the limited company developing the tunnel, bid on lot H41 in January of this year. Described as the north portal of the base tunnel, the section stretches from Sill Gorge near Innsbruck in the south to the town of Pfons in the Austrian state of Tyrol.

The ceremony for the start of excavation was celebrated on October 28 at the foot of Viller Berg Mountain in Sill Gorge.

“Compared to other Brenner Base Tunnel construction sites, the Sill Gorge construction package is rather small but very large, as it is visible from Innsbruck and therefore visible to people,” said Gilberto Cardola, Director General of BBT, during the press conference. time. “As a cross-border gateway to Europe, when completed, the BBT will ensure faster transport of passengers and freight from north to south and vice versa. “

According to Implenia, technical manager of the project, some 5.7 km of tunnel will be dug by drilling and blasting and some 16.4 km with a tunnel boring machine.

The JV will build the inner lining of the tunnels as well as the Innsbruck emergency stop and an exploration tunnel. Creating around 400 jobs in the region, the work is expected to take 80 months.

The base tunnel consists of two tubes, each 8.1m wide, spaced 40 to 70m apart, according to BBT SE. Each tube will have a single track. The two tubes are connected every 333 m by side tunnels connecting the evacuation routes.

A unique feature of the base tunnel is the 5 meter diameter “exploration tunnel” which extends end to end between the two main tubes and approximately 12 m below. As the name suggests, the exploratory tunnel was intended to provide advanced data on the rock mass to aid in tunnel construction.

Implenia and Webuild are already working together on the southern connection of the Brenner base tunnel with the high-capacity line between Franzensfeste and Waidbruck. Lot H41 is Webuild’s fourth base tunnel contract.

Erwin Scherer, Global Head Tunneling at Implenia, said: “The Brenner Base Tunnel is an important part of the Scandinavia-Mediterranean Corridor within the Trans-European Network (TEN-T), which improves rail connections across the continent. We are very pleased to be able to bring our many years of experience and proven expertise in tunnel construction to this large and complex tunnel project.

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