On March 23, 2011, the miners excavated the last metres of rock in the west tube between Faido and Sedrun. Around five months after the final breakthrough in the east tube, both single-track tunnels of the Gotthard Base Tunnel are therefore completely driven over a continuous length of 57 kilometres.
The tunnel boring machine from Faido broke through into the Sedrun section at 12:20 pm. The miners of the two sections could again shake hands. "With the end of excavation under the Gotthard, a further important milestone has been reached in the construction of the world's longest railway tunnel", says Renzo Simoni, CEO of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd.
Mainly excavated by tunnel boring machine
With this second final breakthrough, a construction phase comes to an end which began in 2001 in the southern section at Bodio and was already prepared from 1996 with the construction of logistical access tunnels at Amsteg, Sedrun, Faido and Bodio, as well as the sinking of two 800 metres-deep shafts at Sedrun. Of the around 152-kilometres-long tunnel system of the Gotthard Base Tunnel, including all passages and shafts, around 56 % were excavated by tunnel boring machine and around 44 % by drilling and blasting. During the excavations, a total of more than 28 million metric tons of rock were transported out from under the mountains.
Railway infrastructure to be installed by 2016
AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd. will hand over the tunnel to Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) in operating condition at the end of May 2016. Until then, the focus of construction work will be on the tunnel lining, infrastructure systems and railway installations. This work has already started in the previously completed sections of tunnel in parallel with the final driving and concrete-shell construction activities.
AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd.
AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd. is the constructor of the Gotthard axis of the New Rail Link through the Alps with base tunnels through the Gotthard and Ceneri. Established in 1998 as a subsidiary of Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), the company now employs around 150 people at its headquarters in Lucerne and its branches in Altdorf, Sedrun, Faido and Bellinzona.