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The opening of the construction site for the base tunnel in Italy

Matteo Salvini, Italian Minister for Infrastructure and Deputy Prime Minister, officially marked the start of operations this morning in the Susa Valley at the construction site for the excavation of the Italian section of the Mont Cenis base tunnel, part of the new Lyon-Turin railway line.

The UXT binational group of companies, composed of Itinera (group head), Ghella and Spie Batignolles, which was awarded the one billion euro work contract in Italy, will be responsible for constructing the two tubes of the railway tunnel from Chiomonte to Susa, for which two tunnel boring machines and about 700 workers are planned.

In front of representatives of institutions, employers’ associations and trade unions, the group of companies presented the work and signed the Lyon-Turin Business integrity and sustainability pact and the Mission-S Charter, the programme for workplace safety at the construction site.

These two contractual documents govern the way in which TELT binds the entire supply chain to respect the fundamental principles of sustainable development indicated by the UN Global Compact.

We are building a piece of Europe,” said TELT’s general director, Maurizio Bufalini, “and for those who have experienced the birth of this construction site this day represents a very exciting moment: the start of work in Italy too on the excavation of the tunnel through which the trains will pass is a goal that could not be taken for granted.  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.  So, I want to thank my colleagues at TELT, the Italian, French and European institutions, the workers, trade unions and employers’ associations, but also the many citizens who repeatedly spurred us on, especially in the most difficult times. I wish the new group of companies all the best for a job that I am sure will go down in European history: the realisation of the longest railway tunnel in the world”.

From the left: Matteo Salvini, Maurizio Bufalini, Gianni Luciani
Gianni Luciani, President of Itinera, at the head of the UXT group of companies, said, “The companies in the group represent excellence in the field of 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“.

The new companies took over the Chiomonte construction site after the contract for the construction of the interchange niches were completed in November. These niches within the Maddalena 1 tunnel are necessary for the logistics of the vehicles that need to reach the altitude at which the two tubes of the base tunnel will be excavated.

The visitor centre built inside the Chiomonte construction site was opened on this occasion. Located directly on the platform next to the entrance to the Maddalena tunnel, the three-storey building consists of 25 ‘recycled’ containers. During the event, guests were able to use the changing room to wear the Individual Protection Devices (helmet and waistcoat), while the journalists used the first floor as a press room. The visitors’ centre, designed by architect Cristina Catino and Studio PLAC, together with the PINI company, based on the typical ‘construction site cabin’, has large windows overlooking the forecourt, and a terrace allowing visitors to have a privileged view of the construction site and the works. Moreover, thanks to a system that exploits the gallery’s natural hot water, the building allows geothermal energy to be tested for the first time before   future use in the areas close to the base tunnel in the Susa Plain.

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