Ceneri Base Tunnel faces two-year delay

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The construction of a 15-kilometre rail tunnel through the Swiss Alps could be delayed by two years because of an ongoing contractual dispute.

AlpTransit Gotthard (ATG), the authority leading the tunnel’s construction, said that ongoing legal proceedings meant that the opening of the tunnel was now ‘most likely’ to be pushed back to 2021.

The Ceneri Base Tunnel is being constructed along with the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Once complete both tunnels will be integrated into the existing Gotthard Railway route between Switzerland and Italy, significantly reducing journey times through the mountains.

In August 2013, ATG awarded the ‘railway track and logistics’ and ‘railway systems and overall coordination’ contracts, worth a combined CHF 225 million, to the Mons Ceneris Consortium and CPC Consortium respectively.

Both have now been cancelled and returned to ATG after questions were raised over the ‘suitability’ of the successful consortia.

In a statement, ATG said: “Depending on the Tribunal’s decision, opening at the end of 2020, or only at the start of 2023, is also possible. According to ATG’s analysis, in the worst case, additional costs of 144 million Swiss francs would be incurred.”

ATG has said that as well as having to award new contracts, there are a number of appeals pending with the Federal Administrative Court and the Federal Tribunal.

The new invitation to tender for both contracts is expected to be awarded by the end of the year.

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