On Monday, Italian minister for infrastructure and deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini officially marked the start of operations at a ceremony where UXT, the consortium of Itinera, Ghella and Spie Batignolle, signed the Lyon-Turin Business integrity and sustainability pact and the Mission-S Charter for workplace safety.

The two contracts govern the way TELT, the company commissioned by the Italian and French governments to manage the construction of the Lyon-Turin railway line, binds the supply chain to respect the fundamental principles of sustainable development set out by the UN Global Compact.

UXT was awarded the €1bn (US$1.08bn) works in August. The contract – the final tunnelling package for the project – covers the 28.5km of tunnelling works between Maddalena di Chiomonte and Susa.

Two dual-mode TBMs will be employed on the 91-month contract which, as well as the two tubes of the base tunnel, includes the Maddalena 2 tunnel, where the TBMs will be launched, connecting tunnels and a cut-and-cover tunnel at the eastern entrance to Susa.

The 57.5km-long Mont Cenis base tunnel – one of the world’s longest rail tunnels – is already under construction on the French side, starting from the entrance at Saint-Julien-Mont-Denis. It will stretch for 45km in France and 12.5km in Italy.

TELT general director Maurizio Bufalini said the project was “building a piece of Europe”.

It is the result of the unceasing work of planners, contractors and local, regional and national public officials without whose effort and determination we would not be here today,” he said.

Gianni Luciani, president of Itinera, which is leading UXT, said the consortium companies represented excellence in large infrastructure works, particularly underground.

“We are proud to be part of this international project, which will be realised by using the very best professional skills and technologies and will promote the area and all its facilities with a view to growth and development,” he said.