The final contract for construction of the 34.5km long Lötschburg tunnel in Switzerland has been awarded.

Bouygues Construction, through its Swiss civil engineering subsidiaries Losinger Sion and Prader will build the 7.1km long, 9m diameter central Ferden section. Construction of the drill and blast twin tunnels will begin in May this year. Completion of the $170M section is scheduled for the spring of 2005.

The contract is the fourth to be awarded on the mammoth alpine scheme.

Already underway is the two contract $500M, 23.6km long southern section (18.7km as TBM drives and 4.9km as drill and blast). On the first contract the MaTrans JV has bored approximately 2km of the 8.5km, 9.4m diameter tunnel from the Steg portal. Boring of the 10.2km long second contract, also by MaTrans, is scheduled to start from the Raron portal in July.

Finally the SATCO JV is underway on the 26km long, $350M drill and blast Mitholtz section and is on schedule for a 2006 completion.