The breakthroughs will allow for the work sites along a 17km section to be connected.

The breakthrough along the Valico Tunnel, completed with traditional excavation methods, is the first of a number of breakthroughs that will occur along the27km tunnel. The section includes the Camerone di Valico Nord, a 540m2 “underground cathedral” that is 30m-wide and 22m-high.

The second breakthrough was in Serravalle Tunnel, with 6.4km of the total 7km completed using the 115m-long Giovanna Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which has a 10m-wide bore. The TBM bore through complicated terrain near the Serravalle Designer Outlet and the existing Genoa - Turin line that required the use of an innovative monitoring system above and below ground.

The 53km Terzo Valico dei Giovi project, which includes 36km of tunnels, with reduce Genoa - Milan travel times from 1h 39min to 50 minutes, and will become part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) Rhine-Alpine corridor.

As well as the construction of the main line, the project includes four connections with Voltri, Genova Parco Campasso, Novi Ligure and Tortona to connect the line with the existing network.

The milestones were celebrated at an event held in Serravalle Scrivia, which was attended by infrastructure and transport minister, Mr Paola De Micheli, extraordinary commissioner for Terzo Valico dei Giovi and Nodo di Genova Projects, Mr Calogero Mauceri, Webuild chief executive, Mr Pietro Salini, Italian Railways (FS) chief executive and general director, Mr Gianfranco Battisti, and Italian Railway Network (RFI) chief executive and general director, Mr Maurizio Gentile.

“We are proudly here today for a double breakthrough, and the opening of these two tunnels serve as an example of the extraordinary expertise of so many people,” Salini says. “There are many families who are worried about their future, and the government has to confront this emergency by giving a concrete response to jump start employment and relaunch public works. This is the only way for us to give our country strategic projects as Terzo Valico is for northern Italy.”

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