Friday, October 15, 2010

Major Milestone Accomplished In World's Largest Rail Tunnel Project

The Gotthard Base Tunnel reached a major milestone today, with the breakthrough completing the tunneling operation on the world's longest tunnel project through the Swiss Alps.

This project has been going on for 14 years, and wont be completed under 2016, but it marks a major milestone in tunnel technology and a dedication by the Swiss government to shifting heavy freight traffic from roads to rail. The new tunnel would cut travel time across the north-south axis of Switzerland by an hour and enable higher speed train traffic since the route is level throughout.

Some people had said that this project couldn't be done because of treacherous geological conditions. Indeed, eight people were killed in the course of construction and the work encountered poor rock conditions that heightened the danger of boring through the rock.

Thus far, this project has cost about $10 billion, or about the cost of the proposed ARC Tunnel between New York and New Jersey, which would be a fraction of the size and complexity of the Swiss project.

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