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A joint venture (JV) including the Italian contractor Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo) has been awarded a €220 million tunnelling contract on the Turin-Lyon high-speed rail project.

With its JV partners – Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Dodin Campenon Bernard, Vinci Construction France and Bergteamet – Webuild will help develop the base tunnel on the 270km line.

The contract calls for preparatory works to be undertaken for the future safety site at Modane, between the stations of Susa in Italy and Sain-Jean-de-Maurienne in France.

Webuild says it will undertake the excavation of four 500m-deep shafts, using the raise-boring method, with pilot holes back-reamed using drilling rigs. This method, the company says, offers numerous benefits, including speed, safety and reduced cost.

During the 36-month-long undertaking up to 250 workers will be employed, some of whom will also work using conventional excavation methods, including the use of explosives.

Ultimately, a logistics hub will be created deep underground, before the drilling of an 18km section of tunnel commences.

Webuild holds a 33% stake in the joint-venture project.

The Turin-Lyon railway link is one of the largest infrastructure projects currently taking place in Europe, and will form part of the Mediterranean Corridor, which itself is one element of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T).

The tunnel, being developed by Tunnel Euralpin Lyon Turin (TELT), is scheduled to be completed by 2030, when it is expected to reduce CO2 caused by current road usage by around three million tonnes a year.

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