Thomas Birtel

Thomas Birtel

Austrian-based construction group Strabag has started work on the 20.5km section of the M85 expressway between Csorna and Sopron in Hungary, and has also been chosen for a 13km tunnel section for the underground transport system at a mine in the UK.

The Hungarian contract has a value of HUF51.9 billion (€166.25 million). The section is scheduled for completion after a period of 36 months.

The new extension of the M85 expressway between Csorna and Sopron covers four separate sections. The stretch between Csorna and Fertőd-Endrédmajor is being built by STR-B M85, a consortium made up of one Austrian and one Hungarian Strabag subsidiary together with Belfry PE Kft.

The works comprise two lanes in each direction as well as 18 bridges.

Thomas Birtel, CEO of Strabag, said, “The further expansion of the M85 will shorten the travel time between Győr and Sopron. We are pleased to be able to follow up the works on the Csorna bypass last year by participating in this new project.”

Mine tunnel

In the UK, Sirius Minerals has hired Strabag to build an approximately 13km tunnel section for the underground transport system of the Woodsmith Mine near Whitby, North Yorkshire, UK.

The Woodsmith Mine will begin extraction from the world’s largest deposit of polyhalite, a mineral used in the production of fertiliser, in 2021.

The section to be built by Strabag is part of a 37km tunnel with a diameter of 4.7m for an environmentally-friendly conveyor system to transport the mined polyhalite to Wilton for processing.

The Strabag contract also includes the construction of a tunnel ramp as well as the tunnel portal at Wilton. The actual tunnelling works will cover the distance from the Wilton portal to a shaft at Lockwood Beck, with 150m to be built via cut-and-cover construction, 800m through conventional tunnelling and 11,900m using a tunnel boring machine.

Strabag was closely integrated in the project design through an early contractor involvement (ECI) process.

Birtel said, “Early contractor involvement makes it possible to recognise potential for optimisation at an early stage and to use this potential over the entire duration of the project.”

The project is currently the second tunnelling project for Strabag in the UK. The company is part of a consortium that last year was awarded two lots for the HS2 high-speed rail line.

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