28.01.2016 - View of the hollow
While construction activity on the new Albula Tunnel largely stopped for winter at the Preda and Spinas ends of the site, work in the hollow carried on at full tilt. Laborious and complex preparatory work is being carried out at metre 1,300 of the tunnel in order to stabilise the Rauwacke, a geological fault consisting of cellular limestone.
In order to ensure safe tunnelling through the cellular-limestone fault, the surrounding sludge is being frozen solid over several months. Some 120 freezing holes are being drilled into the hollow for this purpose. Special drilling machines are used to create holes at average intervals of one metre around the actual tunnel cross-section of 60 metres, penetrating deep into the mountain and running through three different types of rock. Cooling lances are then inserted into the drill holes, and generators are used to bring their temperature down to as low as minus 15°C. The freezing process will start in April, so that tunnelling through the geological fault can begin in autumn. Once the fault has been dealt with and the walls of the tunnel have been stabilised and lined with shotcrete, the generators will be switched off and the rock allowed to thaw once more.
Smaller installation tasks are currently under way outside the tunnel in preparation for the restarting of operations in March.