24.11.2015 - The project is progressing to plan
Much has changed at the site since the ceremony at the end of August to mark the start of work on the Albula Tunnel. The miners, blasters, foremen and everyone else involved have moved in, and work was proceeding at full tilt at the Preda and Spinas sites just before the winter break.
Tunnelling work started in late August, from both the Preda and Spinas ends. The section of loose rock at the Preda end has already been successfully dealt with, and blasting work since mid-October has allowed several metres of Allgäu slate to be excavated every day. Installation of the belt conveyors and gravel preparation system is almost complete. Three trains loaded with gravel and cement are already being despatched every week to the site station at the Preda end in order to keep the project supplied with raw materials and construction items. As the section of loose rock in Spinas is some 200 metres long, blasting work at this end cannot begin until next year. Current tunnelling progress (as of 24.11.2015) stands at 180 metres from the Preda end and 55 metres from the Spinas portal. Operations up to the hollow will be suspended for the three-month winter break from mid-December onwards.
The hollow at metre 1,300 of the tunnel has been enlarged to twice its original width in order to allow closer access to the Rauwacke geological fault zone in the cellular limestone, and to optimise the additional tasks involved in the deliberate freezing of this area. The holes designed to house the freezing tubes are currently being drilled into the mountain. This work will continue throughout the winter (apart from the Christmas holidays) in three-shift days and seven-day weeks, right up to the final phase. The actual freezing of the rock can begin in April 2016.