The ground-breaking ceremony of the west portal of the Lietavská Lúčka-Višňové-Dubná Skala stretch of Slovakia’s D1 highway has taken place at Višňové in north Slovakia – marking the excavation of the first 100m (west and east portal) of what will become the country’s longest tunnel.

The planned 7.5km twin-tube tunnel is part of the 13.4km section of the D1 highway under construction by a joint venture led by Salini Impregilo. It is also part of the Corridor No 5 of the Trans-European Networks (TEN-T) which links Bratislava with Uzhhorod in Ukraine.

It is financed by the Slovakian government and the European Union through the European Investment Bank.

In 2014, the design and build contract worth about €410 million was assigned to the joint venture, which also includes Slovakian construction firm DUHA, by the National Highway Company (NDS).

The ground-breaking ceremony featured Slovakian Transport Minister Ján Počiatek, chief representative of the EU in Slovakia Dušan Chrenek, Mayor of Žilina Igor Choma, and general director and chairman of the NDS Milan Gajdoš. Salini Impregilo CEO Pietro Salini and general manager for international operations Claudio Lautizi also attended.

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