PORR Consortium Begins South Exploratory Tunnel for Brenner Base Tunnel

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BBT board member Konrad Bergmeister with the blasting masters Amelie Fidler (BBT) and Martina Micheler (ARGE). (Copyright: BBT-SE)

On March 29, tunneling work for the fourth drilling of Lot H51 Pfons-Brenner began on the south exploratory tunnel, marked by a drilling ceremony. Building the exploratory shaft is a critical milestone in the construction of the largest tunneling project in the history of Austria. The celebrations were attended by the consortium partners, site supervisors and Brenner Basistunnel BBT SE. The PORR consortium was awarded the contract for Lot H51 Pfons-Brenner in March 2018. The construction will take around six years, with a contract volume of approximately EUR 1 billion.

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“The Brenner Base Tunnel is one of the most important infrastructure projects for Austria and the European Union. The construction process is very tight and highly organised in order to successfully meet the contractual construction period of 74 months for the shell construction. Our comprehensive know how, especially related to every tunneling method and in project management, is essential for the realization of this project. We are very pleased to be able to put our expertise to the test in the course of this project,” said PORR CEO Karl-Heinz Strauss.

Following intensive preparatory work, the excavation of the approximately 5.6 km exploratory tunnel will be realized with the drill & blast method and secured with shotcrete. Here the geological challenges of the Hochstegen zone will need to be overcome. The shaft will run centrally at a depth of 12 m below the two main tunnel tubes. Around 1.2 km of exploratory shaft has already been driven on the preceding lot “Wolf 2.” The breakthrough in the direction of Italy should occur in around four years. 

Largest construction phase on the Austrian side

Work on Lot H51 Pfons-Brenner began in late autumn 2018. The construction phase for the Brenner Base Tunnel involves building two main tunnel tubes between Pfons and Brenner, around 9 km of exploratory tunnel, and the emergency stop and transfer point at St. Jodok. The two main, single-track tunnel tubes will primarily be driven with tunnel boring machines (TBMs). This means that a stretch of up to 30 m can be driven per day and per TBM. The entire lot will be supplied via a single access shaft.

Facts and Figures 

Project name: Lot BBT H51 Pfons-Brenner
Client: BBT SE Galleria di Base del Brennero Brenner Basistunnel Gesellschaft
Consortium: PORR Bau GmbH, G. Hinteregger & Söhne Baugesellschaft m.b.H., Società Italiana per Condotte d’Acqua S.p.A., Itinera S.p.A
Completion: 74 months
Project type: Design-build
Tender value: ~EUR 966m
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