A 4 metre corridor is being added to the Gotthard route in order to encourage a further shift of transalpine freight transport from road to rail. The largest sub-project within this plan is the replacement of the existing Bözberg tunnel in Canton Aargau with a new twin-track tunnel. The goal is to allow containers with a corner height of 4 metres to be transported along the route. Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) has now commissioned Implenia with the main construction work on the new tunnel. Implenia won the contract worth approximately CHF 145 million with an offer that proved to be the most economical.
The northern portal of the new tunnel is located near Effingen, while the southern one is by Schinznach-Dorf. Installation sites are being set up at both locations. The main drilling work will be done by a tunnel boring machine (TBM) starting at the Schinznach-Dorf site. A loading station will be set up on the Schinznach-Brugg-Wildegg transport route to take away the spoil. This will save a total of 56,700 lorry journeys along the roads from and to Wildegg. Construction is scheduled to start in spring 2016, and the tunnel is due to become operational in 2020. As well as building the new track, the contract includes installation of some of the electrical equipment (rail technology). It also includes the conversion of the existing twin-track tunnel, which is not big enough for 4 metre containers, into a service and rescue tunnel, as well as all of the implementation planning. Five cross-shafts will provide emergency access from the new to the old tunnel. The conversion work will take until 2022.
Photo: Stefan Wullschleger