The Salini Impregilo and Strabag joint venture has started exploratory tunnelling works on the Brenner Base Tunnel, part of the new railway line that will connect Munich to Verona.
The joint venture has been awarded contracts for two main lots; the €380M (£279M) Tulfes Pfons lot, situated in Austria, and the €300M (£220M) Isarco River Underpass Section in Italy.
The 8m diameter tunnel boring machine (TBM) has been launched on the Tulfes Pfons lot and will excavate 15km of exploratory tunnel towards Italy in the next 38 months.
When complete, the 64km Brenner Base Tunnel is expected to be the longest underground railway connection in the world.
The tunnel is expected to be operational by December 2026.