Webuild leads chase for €1bn Euro rail link

Italian contractor’s consortium named ‘best bidder’ for high-speed Fortezza-Ponte Gardena line

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A consortium of Webuild and Implenia is in pole position to win the contract to plan and construct the high-speed Fortezza-Ponte Gardena railway line in Italy.

The line’s developer, Italian railway infrastructure manager Rete Ferroviara Italiana, has named the consortium as the best bidder for the project, to run from the southern end of the Brenner Base Tunnel, which connects Italy and Austria.

Should the consortium win the contract, Milan-based Webuild would take a 51% stake in the project, with Zurich-based Implenia holding 49%.

Both companies have a wealth of experience in tunnel-building projects: Implenia worked on the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland and is currently involved in Austria’s Semmering Base Tunnel; Webuild is currently working on three elements of the Brenner Base Tunnel itself.

This experience could prove critical to the €1.07 billion Fortezza-Ponte Gardena project, which will run primarily below ground.

The scope of work will include the construction of two twin-bore and single-track tunnels (one of 15.4km in length, the other 6.3km), with the two tunnels to be connected by a stretch of line on a viaduct over the Isarco river.

Further work will include a number of underground connections, plus upgrade work to reduce the maximum gradient of the current line from 23 degrees to 12.5 degrees, thereby improving performance.

Webuild’s position in the market would be significantly strengthened, should the bid for the rail link be successful, coming soon after the company was awarded a €1.3 billion project to design and build two sections of the Pedemontana-Lombarda highway project, north of Milan.

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