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19. April 2011

Boring of the Gotthard Base Tunnel completed

from Geomechanics and Tunnelling 2/2011

On the 23 March 2011, the miners broke through the last few metres of rock in the west bore between Faido und Sedrun, Around five months after the main breakthrough in the east bore, this means that excavation of the full 57 km of both single-track running tunnels of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is now complete.

The tunnel boring machine from Faido broke through intro the Sedrun section at 12:20. "With the completion of excavation at Gotthard, another important milestone has been achieved on the construction of the longest rail tunnel in the world", said Renzo Simoni, chairman of the board of AlpTransit Gotthard AG. This second breakthrough is the end of a construction section, which started in 2001 in the southern subsection at Bodio and was being prepared as long ago as 1996 with the construction of the construction logistics access tunnels at Amsteg, Sedrun, Faido and Bodio and the sinking of the two 800 m deep shafts in Sedrun. Of the approximately 152 km tunnel system of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, including all tunnels and shafts, about 56 % have been excavated by tunnel boring machines and about 44 % by drilling and blasting. Altogether more than 28 m tonnes of rock have been transported out of the tunnels. At the end of May 2016, the AlpTransit Gotthard AG will hand the tunnel ready for operation to Swiss Railways SBB. Until then, the construction work will mostly consist of tunnel lining, structural equipment and the installation of railway equipment. These works have already started in parallel to the last stages of excavation and lining in the already completed sections of tunnel.