The MaTrans joint venture has won a second contract on the Lötschberg Tunnel section of Switzerland’s enormous Alptransit project. The jv, which includes Swiss firm Marti Holding, the UK’s Balfour Beatty, Austrian firm Porr and Germany’s Walter Gruppe was awarded the Sfr270m ($163M) Steg package in November 1999.

This second award – worth Sfr250M ($151M) – is for the Raron section comprising two running tunnels from Raron towards Ferdon, a crossover and cross passages. Total length to be tunnelled is 10.8km with optional 1km extensions for each tunnel.

This new contract is located adjacent to and south of the Steg project and according to the client, BLS Alptransit, synergies between the two projects allowed MaTrans to come in with a bid which was substantially lower than those of its competitors in addition to scoring highly on quality and time.

Both the Steg and the Raron tunnels will mainly be driven by hard rock T BM, with some drill and blast. Two 9.5m od TBMs have been ordered from Herrenknecht and start up is scheduled for September.

Three of the four Lötschberg contracts have now been awarded. The largest, for 26km of single-tube, single track tunnel was awarded to a Swiss/French/Swedish jv of Ilbau, Walo Bertschinger, Dumez GTM and Skanska. This will be driven by drill and blast.

Only one contract remains, for the Frutigen stretch, also using TBM. Ma Trans is among bidders who have already submitted.