Eiffage and Vinci, big winners of the Lyon-Turin construction site

Slowly, but surely, the transalpine rail link project between Lyon and Turin is taking shape. Wednesday July 7, the Franco-Italian public company Tunnel Euralpin Lyon Turin (TELT), responsible for the construction, then the operation, of the 57.5 kilometer tunnel (one of the longest in the world), which must be dug under the mountain and connect, by 2030, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, in Savoy, and Susa, in Piedmont, awarded the site contracts for the French side. This represents 80% of the future structure.

The two main lots were entrusted to consortia led by Eiffage and Vinci for an amount of nearly 3 billion euros. The third was carried by the Swiss Implenia, responsible for making the entrance to the tunnel on the French side. The fourth lot, the 12.5 kilometers of the Italian part, worth 1 billion euros, should be awarded in a few months.

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The idea of ​​this mega-project of 25 to 30 billion euros, still contested by some environmentalists and by people concerned about the use of public money, is to relieve the asphyxiated alpine valleys and to postpone part of the road transport. of goods on the rails. Passengers will also benefit from this infrastructure. The main tunnel will consist of two parallel tubes – so as to separate the directions of traffic – and more than two hundred transverse galleries, positioned every 333 meters, to allow evacuations in the event of a problem. Europe should fund a good half of it.

“A decisive step”

The 22-kilometer long galleries entrusted to Eiffage and its partners will be dug using two tunnel boring machines, for the France-Italy direction, and with a jackhammer and explosive in the opposite direction. Allow six years of work. The 23-kilometer section of the Vinci group follows on from the 10 kilometers already completed in Saint-Martin-de-la-Porte (Savoie). Three tunnel boring machines will descend underground. But, for the more complex sections, again, the rock will be attacked in a more traditional way. The site is expected to last five and a half years.

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European Transport Commissioner Adina-Ioana Valean immediately welcomed “A decisive step towards the completion of the Lyon-Turin rail link”, “Long overdue”, and which will allow, she explains, to “Move large volumes of cross-border traffic from road to rail”. The Fréjus tunnel was deemed unsuitable, in particular because of the access slopes which would be too steep. This analysis is not unanimous, however.

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