Aurora, the 100-metre-long mechanical mole with 18 motors of a total of 6.3 megawatts , this morning began excavating the Grottaminarda tunnel, in the province of Avellino, on the Apice-Hirpinia section of the new Naples-Bari high-speed/high-capacity line .
The works of the Infrastructure Pole of the FS Group, with Rete Ferroviaria Italiana as the client of the work and Italferr as the works supervisor, are carried out by the Webuild Group, through the Hirpinia AV Consortium. The work is part of the Cantieri Parlanti project, created by the FS Group in collaboration with MIT, to tell the work’s activities and purposes in a transparent way through public initiatives, infopoints and a page dedicated to strategic works.
The Grottaminarda tunnel, approximately 2 km long , is the first of the three tunnels envisaged along the route of the Apice – Hirpinia section which extends for 18 km, 12 of which underground. The mechanical mole, called Aurora , consists of a rotating head with a diameter of about 12.5 meters . The cutter site will work continuously for about 5 months with a 24-hour working cycle, 7 days a week, with an expected advance of about 16 meters per day. Furthermore, at the same time as the excavation progresses, a ring lining the tunnel is being built which will be made up of nine prefabricated ashlars 55 cm thick and 1.80 meters long each. The use of mechanized excavation brings important advantages on the entire construction site system of the works, in fact it allows the excavation of the Grottaminarda and Melito tunnels in sequence starting from a single site located at the entrance on the Bari side, greatly reducing the impact of the construction sites intermediate in the area. More than 100 highly specialized people are employed to ensure continuous excavation , divided into 4 teams.
The works of the section have an investment of approximately 628 million euros . The new HS/HC Naples – Bari line is an integral part of the TEN-T Scandinavia – Mediterranean European railway corridor and represents the first and most advanced work that the Infrastructure Pole of the FS Group is carrying out to upgrade the railway network in Southern Italy. The new infrastructure, of which Rete Ferroviaria Italiana was the client and Italferr oversaw the preliminary and final design, has a total investment of 5.8 billion euros, also financed with funds from the PNRR. Its completion, by 2027, will speed up the direct transversal connection between the Tyrrhenian and the Adriatic, improving the connections of Puglia and the more internal provinces of Campania with the HS/HC Milan – Rome – Naples line.
Since August 2022, all the construction sites of the new HS/HC Naples – Bari line have been under construction. The activity of the Commissarial Management allowed an acceleration of the works which led to the completion, in 2017, of the first two interventions of the itinerary: the Naples/Afragola interchange node and the Bovino – Cervaro lot. With the first phase of activation of the Cancello – Frasso Telesino, by 2024 it will be possible to create a direct connection between Naples and Bari in 2 hours and 40 minutes . The work is already a driving force for development for the area and for the creation of jobs: about 5,000 people are involved in the project, including engineers, technicians and workers, as well as a supply chain of 2,000 companies including suppliers and subcontractors. Video:
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