BALFOUR BEATTY, in joint venture Marti Holding, Walter Gruppe and Porr (MaTrans jv), has been awarded the SFr270M (£108M) Steg package of the Lotschberg base tunnels for the AlpTransit project in Switzerland.
The 35km long Lotschberg project forms part of the Bern-Lotschberg-Simplon AlpTransit railway, which will form a major new freight route across the Alps.
It consists of two new north-south railway routes, the Gotthard and the Lotschberg.
The system will operate on a rolling road, piggyback traffic principle, similar in concept to the Channel Tunnel, and link into the motorway network.
Due to finish in February 2005, the Steg project is the first of four major packages to be let for the Lotschberg base tunnel by client BLS AlpTransit, a subsidiary of Swiss Railways.
This package comprises an access adit, which will later be used for motorail, the northbound main running tunnels from Lotschen to Ferden, a cross-over and cross passages.
A total of 9.5km, 9.5m diameter tunnels will built, mostly by hard rock tunnel boring machine with the remainder by drill and blast. Initial support will be provided by rock-bolts, mesh, arches and shotcrete and the final lining will be concrete.