Switzerland

Ceneri Base Tunnel: Operational opening delayed to December 2020

The legal dispute concerning the award of the railway systems for the Ceneri Base Tunnel has consequences. An intensive review by the constructor, AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd (ATG), has concluded in mid-June 2015 that operational opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel should now be planned for 2020 instead of 2019.

In September 2013, appeals were lodged against the awards made by AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd of the railway systems lots “Railway Track & Logistics” and “Railway Systems and Overall Coordination”. In September 2014, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court confirmed the awards made by ATG. The duration of the legal proceedings, amounting in total to around 12 months, delayed the overall time schedule for the two railway system lots by one year.

During the last few months, ATG has explored with the contractors whether with acceleration measures the delay of 12 months can be made up and operational opening in December 2019 can be secured. The finding is that the date of 2019 is considered by the contractors to be feasible but the associated risks are regarded by ATG as unacceptable. “Despite high outlay, there would be a danger of not meeting the 2019 date for operational opening,” says Renzo Simoni, Chief Executive Officer of AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd.

The 15.4 km long Ceneri Base Tunnel is now expected to become operational to coincide with revision of the railway timetable in December 2020. Until the breakthrough point at Vigana, the distance remaining to be cut in the west tube is presently 1085 m and in the east tube 1160 m (as at 15 June 2015). If the work proceeds as planned, final breakthrough of the Ceneri Base Tunnel will be in early 2016. Both breakthroughs to the south already took place in March 2015.

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