Constructing the 57-kilometre (35-mile) rail tunnel took just over 12 billion Swiss francs ($12 billion) and some 2,400 workers, according to Swiss government statistics
a 1992 referendum, which supported the project, but public outcry about the expense put work on hold.
Eventually, a November 1998 referendum closed the
a big engineering achievement,” said Martin Knights of the London-headquartered Institution of Civil Engineers.
The tunnel runs from Italy down to two hours and 40 minutes, roughly an hour less than it currently takes.
The new route also aims to make rail freight more efficient, curbing pollution.
The number of daily rail passengers is also expected to increase from the current rate of 9,000 people to 15,000 by 2020, according to the Swiss cantons linked to increased accessibility.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, along with Swiss officials, are due to attend Wednesday’s grand opening, which will feature a ceremonial run.
Full service starts in December. in the end from major technical advances in tunnel boring machines that began to pick up in the 1960s and 70s, Knights said.
The boring machinery used for the Gotthard Tunnel is “a whole moving factory, half a kilometre in length”, which synchronises all the steps needed to carve a passage through a mountain, he