Mined road link progress in Poland 09 Jan 2020

Jaroslaw Adamowski, for TunnelTalk

Advances are being made on the longest mined road tunnel in Poland, which is scheduled for completion in early 2021. Situated in the Luboń Mały massif, in the Tatry mountains, the 2.06km twin tube link will be part of the S7 express road between Lubień and Rabka Zdrój, in the region of Małopolska. It is being constructed by Italian construction company Astaldi SpA.

Shortcreting in tunnel four
Shortcreting in tunnel four

The contract was awarded to Astaldi by the Polish General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways (GDDKiA). Signed in June 2016, the contract value is PLN968.84 million (€226.17 million). At the end of 2019, the project was 49.7% complete, according to data released by the GDDKiA. The agreed project development time was 54 months following contract signing.

Mateusz Witczyński, Director of Communications at the Polish subsidiary of Astaldi, confirmed to TunnelTalk that the project is on track to be completed in 2021. To meet programme, construction work continues 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The tunnel will represent about 12% of the new section of the S7 express road, which will, in total, be close to 17km long. It is estimated that some 500,000m3 of rock will be removed during the excavation.

“The tunnel is being mined using the ADECO RS, Analysis of Controlled Deformation in Rocks and Soils method,” he said. “One of the tubes has already been excavated with the T1 and T2 headings breaking through on 23 October 2019. A further 33% of work remains to be completed before the T3 and T4 headings also junction.”

When complete, the road tunnel will measure 2,060m, of which 1,919m will be constructed using the mining method. “It will comprise two parallel tunnels, one for each direction of traffic flow,” Witczyński added. “One of the tunnels has already been excavated; the T1 and T3 tubes were joined together on 23 October 2019. A further 33% of work remains to be completed before the T3 and T4 tubes are also joined.”

Excavation through tunnel four
Excavation through tunnel four

European expertise

When asked how the tunnel design compares to other similar investments in Poland, Witczyński said that this tunnel will be the largest road tunnel in Poland to be developed using the mining method.

“There are many similar constructions in Europe,” Witczyński explained. “With regards to the geological conditions, the project is fairly similar to the Marta Giulia railway tunnel, built between Parma and La Spezia in northern Italy.”

The Marta Giulia is a double-track tunnel that is about 4km long. It was also developed using the ADECO-RS method. Excavation was made difficult due to the presence of gas. In spite of this, construction work on the tunnel was completed in 2014.

Waterproofing and final lining underway
Waterproofing and final lining underway

Investment for expansion

The project to overhaul and expand the S7 express road in Poland has secured co-funding from the European Union (EU). The European Commission will provide more than PLN1.32 billion (€310 million)to the Polish authorities under the EU Operational Program Infrastructure and Environment (OPI&E) for the years 2014 to 2020. The EU funds will represent more than 53% of the total value of the investment, which totals PLN2.47 billion (€580 million).

The S7 express road is a key part of the road infrastructure in Poland, as it runs through the centre of the country, connecting north and south. The express road is currently 264km long, and with plans to expand it to 720km, it is set to become the longest express road in the country. Furthermore, according to the GDDKiA, “the construction of the new S7 express road section will ensure a direct connection to the A4 highway, which is the main transportation channel in the south of Poland.”


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