Strabag, in joint venture with the Italian construction companies Salini-Impregilo, Consorzio Cooperative Costruzioni CCC and Collini Lavori, is awarded €300 million construction of the Eisack Undercrossing section of the Brenner Base Tunnel. The Austrian company, as lead partner, holds a 39% share in the consortium.
Work is scheduled to begin later this year with a planned construction time of around eight years. The contract section is located at the southern (Italian) end of the Brenner Base Tunnel near the town of Franzensfeste (Fortezza) in the province of Bozen (Bolzano) in South Tyrol. Contract scope comprises construction of the two main tubes of the future Brenner Base Tunnel for a total excavation length of 4.3km, as well as two connecting tunnels to the existing Brenner Railway, adaptations and improvements to the existing infrastructure, and the environmental restoration of all areas after construction is completed.
“This is an extremely demanding project from a technical point of view, as it undercrosses the river Eisack, the Brenner Motorway, the state highway and the Brenner Railway with a very low rock overburden. We look forward to this challenge,” said Thomas Birtel, Strabag Chief Executive Officer.
Following the June (2014) award of the €380 million Tulfes–Pfons section in Tyrol to a JV of Strabag (51%) and Salini-Impregilo, this is the second contract win for the Austrian contractor in just a few months. Located at the Austrian end of the €8.6 billion (in 2012 prices) 64km scheme, the Tulfes–Pfons Lot calls for a total of about 38km of drill+blast and TBM tunnel. This represents the largest single award on the project to date, although procurement will begin in 2016 for three final, and larger, tunnel construction contracts.
The Brenner Base Tunnel is a transportation priority project for the European Union (EU), and while Austria and Italy are each funding 30% of the scheme, the majority of the 40% balance is being met by the EU. The project is to be completed in 2025 for operational services to begin by late 2026, according to project owner BBT-SE, which is itself a JV of Austrian and Italian rail companies, ÖBB and TFB. As part of the key Berlin-Bologna rail transport corridor in Europe’s expanding rail transportation network, the Brenner Base Tunnel will eliminate the steep grades of the existing Brenner railway that was built in the 1860s and enable passenger train speeds of up to 250km/h.