Ceneri Base Tunnel
After the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the Ceneri Base Tunnel is Switzerland's second-largest tunnel construction project. Although the Gotthard Base Tunnel forms the heart of the NRLA, it is only together with the Ceneri Base Tunnel that it creates a continuous flat route.
From the vision to the project
As for the Gotthard also for the Ceneri, the way from vision to implementation was similarly long. For a long time, the tight financial situation made the future of the Ceneri Base Tunnel uncertain. The Ceneri Base Tunnel project was even at risk of being totally cancelled due to cost-reduction programmes. The authorities of the canton of Ticino responded by fighting for the tunnel. In July 2001, the Swiss Federal Council decided in favour of its construction with two single-track tubes. AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd was tasked with elaborating a project for publication.
Finding the route
The route through the canton of Ticino could only be defined after long and difficult planning and negotiations. In 1994, Swiss Federal Railways and AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd decided in favour of the variant with crossing of the Magadino plain. Vigana was chosen as the site of the north portal, Vezia of the south portal. The foundation stone was officially laid on June 2, 2006, at Camorino by Federal Councillor Moritz Leuenberger.
The tunnel system consists of two single-track tubes 40 metres apart. Also on the Ceneri, attention is paid to safety. The tubes are joined by cross passages every 325 metres. Located at Sigirino is a ventilation centre with the incident ventilation. In view of the short length, construction of a multifunction station is not necessary.
The construction concept
When planning the construction work, important points had to be considered. For example, the thickly populated areas close to the portals, or the crossings under or over important traffic carriers. For this reason, the tunnel tubes are being excavated mainly from Sigirino. From there, driving is in progress towards both portals.
Work in progress
Excavation of both tubes is taking place exclusively by conventional drilling and blasting. This work began in 2007 and will continue until 2015. Opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel is scheduled for December 2020.