Gotthard Base, the longest and deepest railway tunnel in the world, with a length of 57 kilometers and a depth of 2 meters, which passes under the Swiss Alps and shortens the distance between the north and south of Europe, has been opened.
100 media members were accredited to the opening ceremony, where 300 thousand people were expected. Christian, Muslim and Jewish clergy also took part in the ceremony. Swiss Confederation President Johann Schneider-Ammann and many ministers attended the opening ceremony, which started at the northern entrance of the tunnel, Rynacht, near the Uri Canton.
Schneider-Ammann will be accompanied by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President François Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the ceremony to be held at the south exit of the tunnel near the canton of Ticino.
Construction began in 1999 and from Turkey Rönesans 10 billion Euros was spent for the tunnel, the construction of which was completed by the consortium, including Insaat. The cost of the entire project, which is expected to be completed in 2020, is estimated to reach 20,8 billion Euros.
More than 17 workers took part in the construction work, which lasted 2 years. During the construction of the tunnel, 500 million tons of rock was extracted from the underground. Rönesans Johannes Dotter, Senior Manager of Heitkamp Swiss, one of the group companies, explained that the total length of the 57-kilometer-long tunnel, consisting of two parallel single-line tubes, together with cross-passes, access tunnels and shafts, exceeds 152 kilometers.
The tunnel has a daily 65 passenger and 240 freight train capacity, Dotter said, adding that since last October there has been a test drive going around the world around 2 times.
With the tunnel shortening the distance between the south and north of Europe, going from Milan, Switzerland to Milan, Italy will decrease by one hour to 2 hours and 40 minutes.
The Gotthard Base tunnel has passed the 54-kilometer Seikan Tunnel in Japan, becoming the world's longest railway tunnel.