Bid deadline and milestone in Sweden 29 Mar 2018

Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk

Tender deadline is 5 April for design and build offers on the Varberg rail project, involving almost 3.1km of tunnel, on the west coast of Sweden. The national transport authority Trafikverket has prequalified a shortlist of bidders and hopes to award the lot in June.

Long profile of planned Varberg rail tunnel, Sweden
Long profile of planned Varberg rail tunnel, Sweden

Varberg rail tunnel will involve 2.8km of blasting through rock, and construction of a 300m long concrete box structure at the north end of the underground works. Just outside the north portal will be a station with access to low-level platforms located in a concrete trough structure more than 800m long.

First two immersed tube elements for Marieholm
First two immersed tube elements for Marieholm

Bid documents for the Varberg contract were issued at the end of 2017. Following contract award, Trafikverket expects planning and design work to continue to 2019, covering the new tunnel below the town of Varberg plus bridges, tracks and other civil engineering works over a total length of 9km, and also restoration and demolition on the existing railway. The Varberg expansion scheme is expected to be completed around 2024-25.

Within Varberg, taking the rail link underground will free up development sites in the town. Approval for the underground option was made in early 2013. The SKr 4 Billion (2009 prices) project is part of an expansion of the rail link between Gothenburg and Lund to double-track capacity, and a key element in Trafikverket’s investments to improve rail and road infrastructure on the Swedish west coast in and around the Gothenburg region.

In Gothenburg, on its major West Link rail project in rock tunnels below the heart of the city, Trafikverket has only one contract left to award – the Kvarnberget Lot. The client is running the tender competition again for the Kvarnberget Lot after too few offers late last year.

Two elements placed, one to go at Marieholm
Two elements placed, one to go at Marieholm

Also in Gothenburg, Trafikverket recently achieved another milestone on its Marieholm immersed tube road tunnel project. Contractor Zublin floated-out the second of three 100m long concrete elements in January for the 500m long tunnel on the bed of the Gota River.

The first 25,000 tonne concrete element had been floating in place since mid-2017 and was lowered to the river bed in December. Following the placement, the second unit was floated out from dry dock and then, in February, also lowered to the river bed.

“Overall, the progress in the Marieholm Connection Project is according to plan,” Trafikverket’s project manager, Stein Kleiven, told TunnelTalk. He added that for the immersion phase of the elements, the winter conditions with floating ice were potentially a problem but the works went according to plan, and said their risk management approach was an important planning tool.

Zublin is now casting the third, and final, concrete element in the dry dock. Trafikverket told TunnelTalk the element is to be floated out and lowered into place in September. The dry dock will then be empty and work will get underway to also include it in the tunnel approach ramp. The Marieholm project is due to finish in 2020.


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