A joint venture of Hochtief, Implenia and Thyssen has secured a €457M (£330M) contract to build the Gloggnitz Tunnel, which will form the eastern portal of the Semmering Base Tunnel, from the Austrian railway authority OBB.
The 7.4km long twin bore tunnels will be driven on two faces - both from Gloggnitz and via an intermediate access in Göstritz - using the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM).
Hochtief has said that due to challenging ground conditions and to improve logistics of the tunnel drives, a 1km access tunnel will be driven first and two 260m deep shafts with caverns at the construction level will also be constructed from Göstritz before the main construction work gets underway.
Work on the Gloggnitz Tunnel is due to be completed in 2024.
Vital European infrastructure
The Semmering Base Tunnel is said to be one of the most important infrastructure projects in the heart of Europe. The 27.3km twin-tube rail tunnel between Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag is an important link in the rail network of Austria, as well as the rest of Europe.
The Semmering project is located on one of Europe’s most important traffic corridors – the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor - which runs from Gdansk in Poland to Ravenna in Italy and connects important economic areas and ports between the Baltic and the Adriatic. At present the mountain section across the Semmering is a bottleneck on this trans-European rail route, which will be removed by the Semmering Base Tunnel.
Commissioning of the new Semmering route is planned for 2026.