Tunnel vision

The world’s longest environmentally friendly tunnel was completed last Friday. The path is now clear after a 31 foot wide drill tore down the last section of rock separating the two ends of the tunnel. The thirty-five mile long Gotthard Base tunnel has been drilled over a mile and a half underground, below the Swiss Alps.

Swiss transport minister, Moritz Leuenberger, said, “Here, in the heart of the Swiss Alps, one of the biggest environmental projects on the continent has become reality.” The tunnel indicates an environmental achievement just as much as it represents a feat of engineering. Switzerland has a busy haulage industry, with over a million heavy vehicles running through the Swiss Alps. Thus, the tunnel marks the work of Swiss politicians in their quest to share the work with the now energised rail freight industry.

The tunnel will open to traffic in 2017 and will ultimately cut journeys from Northern Italy to Zurich, Switzerland to just three hours.