Worldwide media attention focuses on the Gotthard Base Tunnel breakthrough

Berlin, (PresseBox) - The first breakthrough of the Gotthard Base Tunnel's eastern tube took place on 15 October. Switzerland, Europe and the world watched as the last few metres of rock were bored through by 'Sissi', one of the four 10-metre-wide drills that have been gouging their way through the earth underneath the Swiss Alps since the construction of the tunnel began 14 years ago.

According to Heinz Ehrbar, Chief Construction Officer of the Gotthard Base Tunnel project, who spoke with IQPC in the lead-up to the Tunnel Design and Construction Europe congress, the breakthrough came right on schedule.

„We had to excavate an underground construction system of more than 150 kilometres, with difficult ground conditions,“ said Ehrbar, noting the challenges needing to be overcome during the tunnel's construction, „We had an overburn of over 2500 metres, which means we had a very high temperature during the excavation, and water inflows. In Sedrun, we also had one zone of over one kilometre in length of squeezing rock.“

Despite these challenges, the final breakthrough was successful, making the Gotthard Base Tunnel, with 57 kilometres, the longest tunnel in the world.

Ehrbar will be speaking about the Gotthard Base Tunnel project during his presentation at IQPC's Tunnel Design and Construction Europe 2010 congress from 25 – 28 October in Zurich, Switzerland. On 27 October, some delegates will also have the chance to take part in a site visit to the tunnel itself.

To listen to the full interview with Heinz Ehrbar, visit Further information and the full conference program are available on


IQPC provides business solutions around the world with tailored practical conferences, large scale events, topical seminars and in-house training programs, keeping them up-to-date with industry trends, technological developments and the regulatory landscape. IQPC produces more than 1,500 events annually around the world, and continues to grow. IQPC has offices in major cities across six continents including: Bengaluru, Berlin, Dubai, London, New York, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Sydney. IQPC leverages a global research base of best practices to produce an unrivalled portfolio of conferences.

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