Tunneling through the Alps is particularly complex since it entails crossing the Pedriadriatic Seam, a major fault line across the mountain range.
However, from the southern portal at Fortezza to the Brenner, there is now a tunnel that is 24.1 kilometers long, part of the 64 kilometers that will connect the Italian town with Innsbruck in Austria to create the Brenner Base Tunnel, which will become the longest railway tunnel in the world. This milestone was reached with the breakthrough of a diaphragm separating lots H71 Isarco River Underpass built by Webuild and Mules 2-3 built by Webuild and Ghella on the Italian side of the project.
In addition to the main tunnels that will facilitate the passage of high-speed/high-capacity trains, the project foresees a network of 230 kilometres of tunnels and spaces, 151 kilometres of which have already been excavated. This complex underground network, whose deepest point will be 1,700 metres below the mountain range peaks, will have passenger trains travel at speeds of up to 250 kilometres an hour and those for cargo at 160 kilometres.
At an official ceremony deep inside the mountain, the last diaphragm separating lots H71 Isarco River Underpass and H61 2-3 Mules was torn down by the excavator. Among those in attendance, Nicola Meistro, Senior Executive Vice President of Operations of Webuild was joined by Pat Cox, European Coordinator for the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), Gilbert Cardola, Chief Executive (Italy) of BBT SE, Martin Gradnitzer, Chief Executive (Austria) of BBT SE, and Anna Masutti, President of Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (Gruppo FS Italiane).
The project is strategic for the TEN-T, the High Speed / High Capacity network which will transport people and goods throughout the continent. By facilitating sustainable mobility among member countries by shifting more people and cargo from road to rail, it will help greatly reduce CO2 emissions. The Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor, of which the Brenner Base Tunnel will be a part, will connect the transport system between Helsinki in Finland and La Valletta in Malta.