Ceneri Base Tunnel: Blast-driving begins at Vezia

On Monday, April 12, 2010, blast-driving will begin at the future south portal of the Ceneri Base Tunnel in Vezia. The first blast at Sigirino already took place one month ago.

The work of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd on the construction site at Vezia is proceeding according to plan. After a construction phase with numerous preparatory operations, actual driving will start on Monday, April 12, 2010. The first 300 metres to the north of the south portal of the Ceneri Base Tunnel will be excavated from Vezia. The work will be performed using conventional drilling and blasting, and is expected to last until mid-2012.

Normally, on weekdays one or two blasts will be performed each day. The blasts will take place at irregular intervals between 8.00 am and 12.00 noon, and between 1.30 pm and 6.00 pm. No blasting will take place on Saturdays, Sundays or public holidays.

On March 10, 2010, blast-driving also began in the operations cavern of the intermediate heading at Sigirino. This marked the start of the main excavation work for construction of the Ceneri Base Tunnel. Commercial operation of the Ceneri Base Tunnel with scheduled train services is planned to start at the end of 2019.

The Ceneri Base Tunnel, with a length of 15.4 km between the north portal at Vigana, near Camorino, and the south portal at Vezia, is Switzerland’s third-largest tunnel project after the Gotthard and Lötschberg Base Tunnels. Only with the Ceneri Base Tunnel as the continuation and extension of the Gotthard Base Tunnel will the new Gotthard line become a continuous flat route for freight traffic through Switzerland.