Spanish contractor Acciona and Italian firm Ghella have signed a €1 billion agreement for a tunnelling scheme, which is part of Norway’s Follo Line high-speed railway between Oslo and Ski.

The TBM (tunnel boring machine) joint venture contract with the Norwegian National Rail Administration (NNRA), is for the engineering, procurement and construction work on the key rail route.

As part of the agreement, four tunnel boring machines will be built specifically for the project – which aims to improve rail links between cities, and is said to be the largest current infrastructure venture in Norway.

The work includes construction of two separate 19km tunnels, which will be excavated by the boring machines on the route between Oslo and Ski – where a new railway station will be constructed.

A total of 64km of new railway lines will be built as part of the project. The latest TBM contract is the second of five construction agreements due to be signed for the scheme.

The TBM project includes plans for two of the four new boring machines to drill north on the route towards Oslo, with the other two machines simultaneously drilling south towards Ski. Construction work is expected to start this spring and the overall scheme is due for completion at the end of 2021.

Gunnar Løvås, deputy director general of the NNRA, which is delivering the scheme on behalf of the Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure, said the project was “essential” for improving links between cities and increasing overall rail capacity in Norway.

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