A major component of the project is the under-construction 57.5km twin-bore base tunnel between St Jean de Maurienne, France, and Chiomonte, Italy, which when completed will be the longest railway tunnel in the world. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is 57.05km long.

The JV has been appointed to accompany the delivery of the design, procurement and construction of the civil works, rail systems and the environmental protection measures for the high-speed line.

The completion of the link will improve safety and increase speeds for passengers travelling between Italy and France, but is also expected to transfer the equivalent of one million lorries from road to rail.

The 140km line will have 87km of tunnels including the 57km base tunnel. The cross-border section extends for 18.1km on the Italian side, 12.5km of which will be in the base tunnel. Beyond the Italian portal, there will be a 3km link to the existing line at Bussoleno, including a 2.1km tunnel and a new station at Susa.

The Lyon - Turin high-speed project was thrown into jeopardy in March after Italy instructed TELT, a 50:50 joint venture between Italian State Railways (FS) and the French state, to suspend tendering as the country’s coalition government waivered on whether to support the project. The League was in favour of moving forward with construction, while the populist Five Star Movement, the party of transport minister Mr Danilo Toninelli, was pushing for cancellation.

Italy’s prime minister, Mr Giuseppe Conte, confirmed his commitment to continuing with the project on July 23, marking the end of the deadlock.

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