Implenia joins the celebrations: official opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel
Implenia built three of the five tunnel sections | Lending passion and expertise to an era-defining project
Dietlikon, 1 June 2016 – Seventeen years after the first blast in the main shaft, the world’s longest railway tunnel is officially being opened today, and Implenia is very much involved in the celebrations. Together with its consortium partners, Implenia built three of the five tunnel sections – Sedrun, Faido and Bodio – that make up the 57 kilometre Gotthard base tunnel.
The project presented a huge technical challenge for the tunnel workers. They had to drill through different layers of rock, from hard granite to heavily fragmented sediment. Tunnel boring machines were used to create 80 percent of the main shafts, and conventional blasting for the other 20 percent. A total of 28.2 million tonnes of excavated material was taken away from the tunnel. To save time and costs, the tunnellers worked on several sections at once. At peak times more than 400 Implenia employees were at work on the different lots. People, materials and machines were taken to the building sites within the mountain through access galleries and shafts. With up to 2,300 meters of rock above it, the Gotthard Base Tunnel is also one of the deepest-lying railway tunnels in the world. Within the mountain, the temperature sometimes hit 50 degrees Celsius.
“I’m proud of the tunnel workers and all the other employees whose sweat, passion and skill made this era-defining project possible. We are all very grateful to them,” said Implenia’s CEO Anton Affentranger. The Gotthard Tunnel was a worldwide showcase for Switzerland – technically, politically and socially, he added. The country had shown that great things can be achieved through constructive collaboration between clients, contractors, regulatory authorities and all other stakeholders.
The Gotthard Base Tunnel is also an important reference project for Implenia, which is currently utilising its infrastructure capabilities in various major projects in Europe. Implenia is currently working in Austria, for example, on sections 1.1 and 2.1 of the new Semmering Base Tunnel, as well as on the Granitztal Tunnels. In Scandinavia, the Group won a major contract in summer 2015 for Stockholm’s new “Förbifart” city bypass. Near Stuttgart, Implenia is building the Albvorland Tunnel for Deutsche Bahn, and in Switzerland it is working on the new Bötzberg Tunnel for the SBB.
Three Gotthard veterans look back
“I’m very proud to have helped build the longest tunnel in the world. It was a challenging project and demanded a lot of us all. It’s not called ‘tough Gotthard’ for nothing; but we were tougher!”
Ferdinand Eibel worked as a foreman on NEAT construction sites from 2005 to 2010, first in Faido and then in Sedrun. He is currently helping Implenia build the Stoosbahn, the world’s steepest funicular railway.*
“As a former TBM driver, when I see the result of our daily efforts now, I think: Wow! The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a once-a-century project that will be used for many generations to come. It’s nice to feel I made a contribution.”
Gencarelli Carmine drove a tunnel boring machine, among other things, on the Bodio/Faido section from 2000 to 2010. He is currently working on Implenia’s Stoosbahn construction site.
“The NEAT tunnelling project has dominated my day-to-day life for over seven years. A multicultural family was gradually formed at the construction village in Sedrun. As well as making me proud, today’s official inauguration of the finished project makes me remember all the people who have contributed to the success of this amazing project.”
Christian Krauer was Implenia’s Construction Site Manager for the Transco Sedrun consortium from 2004 to 2011. He then worked for Implenia in various senior project manager roles until his retirement in 2012. These days he is an independent consultant.
* From an interview with Ferdinand Eibel in the 27 May 2016 edition of Mannheimer Morgen
The finished Gotthard base tunnel was officially opened today, almost six years after the tunnel breakthrough in Sedrun on 15 October 2010 (picture).Implenia was heavily involved in three of the five tunnel sections. (Photo: AlpTransit Gotthard AG)
Implenia, Switzerland’s leading construction and construction services company, also has a strong position in the German, Austrian and Scandinavian infrastructure markets. Established in 2006, Implenia can look back on around 150 years of construction tradition. It brings the expertise of its highly skilled sectoral and regional units together under the roof a company active throughout Europe. With its integrated business model and specialists operating in all areas of construction, the Group can manage a building project through its entire lifecycle and deliver work that is economical, integrated and customer-centric. The focus is on striking a sustainable balance between financial success and social and environmental responsibility.
Implenia, with its headquarters in Dietlikon near Zurich, currently employs more than 8000 people around Europe and posted revenue of around CHF 3.3 billion in 2015. The company is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (IMPN, CH0023868554). More information can be found at www.implenia.com.