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Channel Tunnel repairs to be kept at £46M

Eurotunnel this week insisted that costs of repairing the fire damaged Channel Tunnel will not exceed €60M (£46.5M) despite conceding that the full extent of the damage caused by the September 11 blaze is still unknown.

The tunnel operator last week named Freyssinet as the lead contractor for the re-instatement of the damaged section of the north bore of the tunnel. French consultant Setec will supervise the work.

Eurovia Travaux Ferroviaires will repair track and overhead cateneries while Axima will repair the cooling system.

Freyssinet and SETEC carried out reinstatement works following the seven hour fire which hit the tunnel in 1996. This cost £120M.

Eurotunnel said the French firms’ experience from the previous re-instatement was the main reason they could repair the tunnel at such a competitive price.

“When the first fire broke out in 1996, Eurotunnel had not long being in possession of the tunnel,” said a Eurotunnel spokesman. “In many ways, the fire was an unknown quantity. We’re also taking care of the procurement of materials ourselves.”

Eurotunnel conceded that the total extent of the damage to the tunnel after the 11 September fire is still unknown as the French judicial investigation headed up by the French Bureau d’Enquêtes sur les Accidents de Transport Terrestre (BEA-TT) and assisted by the UK Railway Accident Investigation Branch is still ongoing.

But, it continued, extensive spalling had exposed steel reinforcement which would need to be reinstated and re-anchored. Reapplication of the concrete lining will be achieved using shotcrete to a depth of around 40mm. Repairs are expected to be completed by mid-February 2009.

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