Sunday, 6 April 2014

Turkish company Rönesans helping to complete the world’s longest, deepest tunnel

Construction of Gottard Rail Tunnel, Amsteg, SwitzerlandPhoto: AlpTransit Gotthard Ltd

A Turkish company is part of the construction team that will complete a new tunnel to facilitate a high-speed rail link between Italy and Switzerland. Ankara-based Rönesans Holding is working on the 35-mile (57km) long Gotthard Rail Tunnel under the Alps mountain range. When completed in 2016, the it will not only be the world’s longest tunnel, but at 1.5 miles below ground, also the deepest.

Work started on the tunnel some 20 years ago and the initial work was completed in 2011. In July 2013, Rönesans Holding acquired the Swiss arm of Austria’s Alpine Group, and with it joined the team of specialist firms responsible for completing the remaining works for the new Alps tunnel.

Rönesans is working together with Alpiq In Tec, Alcatel-Lucent Schweiz/Thales Rss, Balfour Beatty Rail to install the rail track, power supply, and telecommunications equipment. The new rail tunnel is due to open at the end of 2016 – a year ahead of schedule – at a cost of some 9.5 billion Euros. The investment will help shave an hour off the existing journey between Zurich and Milan, taking just 2 hours and 40 minutes using trains that will travel at 250 km/h along the new high-speed rail link.

The construction project – the largest currently in Europe – was initiated to protect and preserve the nature of the Alps and to improve travel safety. The Swiss public had long called for the removal of heavy-load freight trucks from the Gotthard Road Tunnel due to the high levels of pollution and the increased risk of major fires when collisions occurred, such as in 2001 when 11 people were killed and many more injured.
Sochi International Airport, built by Rönesans Construction and Strabag AG
Formed in 1993, Rönesans Holding has extensive experience in construction projects across Turkey, Russia, central Asia and the Middle East. The award-winning construction firm has built shopping malls, airports including Sochi International (where thousands recently passed through for the Winter Olympics), and power plants such as Sena Hydroelectric Power Plant in northeast Turkey.

Avni Akvardar, the group’s chairman, said recently the firm intends to compete far more against the world’s leading tunnel construction specialists.

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