• Terratec

Brenner contract award, progress advances 12 Apr 2018

Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk

Brenner Base Tunnel developer BBT-SE has awarded the major tunnelling contract on the Pfons-Brenner Lot to the JV of Porr Bau, Hinteregger, Condotte and Itinera.

Next project TBM to launch will be on Mules 2-3 Lot
Next project TBM to launch will be on Mules 2-3 Lot

The JV beat four rival bids to gain the €966 million contract to build a total of 50km of main tunnels on the Austrian side of the binational rail link project under development in the Alps with Italy. Before bidding, the budget estimate for the lot was given as €1.3 billion.

Award of the contract lot comes 11 months after five bids were received by the Austrian-Italian client in April 2017 to build the package of twin running tunnels and central service tunnel. Earlier in the procurement process, BBT-SE had anticipated contract award might happen by late 2017 but a number of appeals delayed completion of the procurement process until the end of March.

The Pfons-Brenner Lot involves approximately 38km of running tunnel construction and nearly 9km of exploratory/service tunnel. All works will be launched through the Wolf adit, which was completed under an earlier contract by the Swietelsky/Swietelsky Tunnelbau JV, including a short stretch of exploratory tunnel.

The four other bidders for the Pfons-Brenner Lot were: Strabag/Salini-Impregilo JV; Pizzarotti, Implenia Osterreich, Metrostav, BeMo Tunnelling JV; Acciona Construccion and CMC di Ravenna JV; and Astaldi, Ghella, Oberosler Cav Pietro and PAC JV.

Brenner Base Tunnel progress at March 2018
Brenner Base Tunnel progress at March 2018
Wolf access site for newly awarded Pfons-Brenner Lot
Wolf access site for newly awarded Pfons-Brenner Lot

The Pfons-Brenner Lot is the penultimate major contract award on the Brenner Base Tunnel project, where construction is well advanced on many sections where some of the other bidders on Pfons-Brenner Lot are already working.

Running tunnel TBM for Mules 2-3 Lot
Running tunnel TBM for Mules 2-3 Lot
All Mules 2-3 TBMs to start in 2018
All Mules 2-3 TBMs to start in 2018

Salini-Impregilo/Strabag is working on the Tulfes-Pfons Lot in Austria and on the Isarco Underpass Lot in Italy. Last year the JV finished all major tunnelling on the Tulfes-Pfons Lot except for the 15km long exploratory TBM bore, which is using a 7.93m diameter Herrenknecht machine and is expected to finish in spring 2019. The lot has a total of 38km of drill+blast main tunnel works and the Isarco Lot is advancing using drill+blast through ground freezing pre-support.

The Astaldi/Ghella-led JV is on the Mules 2-3 Lot which was awarded in Autumn 2016 to excavate 40km of the main running tunnels and of the exploratory tunnel. It will use three Herrenknecht TBMs for the works, a 6.82m diameter TBM for a 14km section of the exploratory tunnel, and two 10.65m diameter double shield TBMs for the running tunnel drives.

Works by others on the project have included a package of delicate tunnelling totalling 3.7km across a tectonic plate boundary, performed by the JV of Implenia, PAC, Codeis, Oberosler Cav Pietro; and, a TBM bore by Seli for the first section of the southern, Italian end of the exploratory tunnel.

Following so much activity, the last lot remaining to be tendered on the 55km long Brenner Base Tunnel is on Pfons-Sillschlucht (or Sillschlucht-Ahrental) section, where construction is expected to start in 2019. A total of 14km of main tunnelling is called for, and the budget has previously been given as €600 million.

Main construction of the Brenner Base Tunnel started almost 11 years ago and is due for completion in 2026. Of the total 64km length of the rail link, 55kmis aligned underground.

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