ITALIAN Rail Network (RFI) has awarded a €1.3bn contract to a consortium of Impresa Pizzarotti and Saipem to finally build the new Florence Belfiore underground high-speed station together with a new line beneath the city, running from Florence Rifredi to Florence Campo di Marte.

The new 8km link, of which 7km will be underground in twin-bore tunnels, will avoid Milan - Rome high-speed trains having to reverse at Florence Santa Maria Novella terminus station.

The striking design of Florence Belfiore station. Photo credit: RFI

The station was designed by Foster and Arup in 2003 and has a striking design. Platforms will be 25m below the surface and will be served by escalators and moving walkways. The station will be designed as an integrated hub for trains, buses, cars and a new light rail link to Santa Maria Novella.

An artificial intelligence system called Pizzarotti Monitoring System (PMS), developed under a partnership between Pizzarotti and Seco launched at the beginning of 2022, will be used to monitor surface and underground excavation, as well as the management of the tunnel boring machines (TBMs).

Artificial intelligence and machine learning models which exploit geotechnical and engineering methods will be applied to the data from the construction site to support workers in the management of excavation. This will optimise the entire project by automating processes, reducing costs and monitoring risk factors to improve safety.

In addition, the examination of soil composition, combined with real-time data analysis, will make it possible to identify in advance, through dedicated predictive models, the presence of possible obstacles during excavation.

Pizzarotti says processing of this information will allow preventive measures to be taken during construction to improve the planning process and optimise construction times.

“Artificial intelligence, machine learning, real time and digital modelling are the keywords of the new smart infrastructure," says Mr Carlo Luzzatto, CEO of Impresa Pizzarotti.

"The world of smart infrastructures is growing rapidly, and this project represents an important result of the work that Pizzarotti and Seco have been doing together in recent months,“ says Mr Massimo Mauri, CEO of Seco.

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