The two shafts that will allow tunnelling to proceed towards Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag are now being built at Lot 2.1 of the Semmering Base Tunnel in Fröschnitzgraben, Austria. At the end of July Federal Minister Alois Stöger, State Governor Michael Schickhofer, State Councillor Karl Wilfing, CEO of ÖBB-Holding AG Christian Kern and, representing the construction consortium, the Head of Implenia’s Business Unit Infrastructure Rene Kotacka celebrated the start of work on the shafts with invited guests. After an ecumenical blessing, tunnel “godmother” Elisabeth Schoggl delivered the traditional greeting to the assembled tunnellers and guests.
For geological and logistical reasons, the Semmering Base Tunnel is divided into three sections. ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG has commissioned the Fröschnitzgraben Tunnel Consortium to handle Lot 2.1. Implenia and Swietelsky Tunnelbau GmbH each have a 50 % stake in the consortium, with Implenia taking the technical lead. The section of around 4 km in the direction of Mürzzuschlag will be built using diggers and explosives, while the 9 km section towards Gloggnitz will be excavated by two tunnel boring machines. The tunnelling from Fröschnitzgraben can only start after two 400 m shafts are sunk into the mountain. These will later serve as ventilation shafts for the emergency stop. Construction of the actual tunnel bores will begin at the floor of the shafts in 2017.