Prelude to building Brenner Baseline Mar 2009
Kayley Edwards, Reporter
- Massive hard granite lies ahead of baseline railway tunneling beneath the Alps to connect Austria and Italy. These conditions are confirmed by current excavation of the 10.5km geological exploratory tunnel being advance by sub-contractor SELI using a 6.3m diameter double-shield.
- By the end of February (2009) the TBM reached chainage 3,146m after working at full thrust and experiencing high cutter wear and low penetration rates in rock strengths of up to 220MPa. Since being launched, the machine has improved its performance from an initial 15m a day to an average 20m a day and has recorded a best of 31.55m in a single day and 603m in a month. As it advances the TBM erects a 20cm thick precast segmental lining in which there are systematic inspection windows and special inspection rings.
- SELI is part of the main project joint venture and has a €40.75 million subcontract to execute the 10.5km TBM exploratory tunnel that connects the Aica portal to the Mules intermediate access. The main €78.9 million advanced works contract was awarded in 2007 to the international consortium of Pizzarotti (Italy), Collini impresa Construzioni (Italy), Bilfinger Berger (Germany), Alpine Mayreder (Austria), Beton-und Monierbau (Austria), Jaeger (Switzerland), and SELI (Italy). In addition to the TBM drive, the main contract includes excavation of a 1.8km long intermediate access adit at Mules and a service tunnel of about 400m long between Aica/Unterplattner and Hinterriger. Installation and management of material stocking areas and other site facilities are also part of the preparatory works contract.
The Brenner Basis Alp-piercing railway
- Work on the baseline project started officially in April last year (2008) when Giorgio Napolitano, President of the Italian Republic, laid the symbolical foundation stone of the Brenner Tunnel.
- The main function of the exploratory tunnel is to investigate the conditions, characteristics and behaviour of the rock along the 57km long Brenner Basis Tunnel and provide essential data for the design and construction of the main railway running tunnels.
- The exploratory tunnel will also support construction of the two main railway tunnels by providing muck removal, segment transport, logistical and drainage services.
- Once into operation, the exploratory tunnel will be used to transport electric power and data cables between Italy and Austria.
The TEN Berlin to Palermo project
- The ambitious Benner Basis tunnel project is one of the 30 main projects in the European Union's Trans-European Networks transportation-infrastructure strategy or TEN. Partly financed by the EU, it is the key element of the new North South Axis railway link between Berlin and Palermo. Countries along the alignment are completing missing links in the new rail route and upgrading existing sections of railway to accommodate the increased traffic and the planned high-speed freight and passenger trains. In Austria this includes current construction of major rail tunnels through the Lower Inn Valley in order to double capacity on the existing surface rail routes as they approach the Brenner Baseline portal at Innsbruck.
- During construction of the Brenner Basis project, men and machines will face some of the most extreme conditions as they forge ahead through the base of the mountains - more extreme some predict than those experienced on the current Alp Transit Baseline railway tunnels through the Löotschberg and St Gotthard Massives of the Swiss Alps. When complete, the 57km long Brenner Basis Tunnel will be one of the longest railway tunnels in the world.
- Austrian approaches to the Brenner Baseline connection - TunnelTalk, Feb 2008
AlpTransit Baseline Tunnels
Lotschberg Base Route