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Friday, October 15, 2010

World’s longest tunnel “Gotthard Base Tunnel” : Hot Topic

After two decades’ construction, the Gotthard Base Tunnel in southern Switzerland broke through the final 1.8 meters Friday to create the world’s longest tunnel at 57 kilometers.

The trans-Alps railway tunnel is a major feat in establishing a new flat rail link between the southern and northern flank of the mountain range. It will cut 40 kilometers from the current route and reduce the travel from Zurich to Milan by one and a half hours.
With a maximum altitude of no higher than 550 meters above sea level, much lower than the existing trans-Alps tunnels, the Gotthard is designed for high-speed passenger and cargo trains. It is expected the amount of freight will be doubled to around 40 million tones per year, once the new link is opened, backing the EU’s environmental efforts to move freight from road to rail.
To achieve the engineering marvel, an estimated 24 million tonnes of rocks have been excavated, which, according to Swiss media, is the equivalent of five times the volume of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Swiss congress has allocated 9.74 billion swiss francs (10.25 billion U.S. dollars) for the project.

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