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Main Page arrow News arrow Rönesans makes come true Europe’s over 100-year dream

Rönesans makes come true Europe’s over 100-year dream

02 June 2016
The majestic event brought together Europe’s prominent leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Austrian President Heinz Fischer, French President François Hollande, Swiss Confederation President Johann Schneider-Ammann as well as Ueli Maurer, Didier Burkhalter, Doris Leuthard, Guy Parmelin, Simonetta Sommaruga, and Alain Berset.
The construction works of the Gotthard Base Tunnel whose initial project idea is dating back to 1960s and excavations started 17 years ago, have been completed in cooperation with Heitkamp Swiss, the subsidiary of Rönesans Construction in Switzerland which is operating under Rönesans Holding.

The construction of the tunnel beneath the Swiss Alps, which is opened with the celebrations on 1st of June, was carried out by a consortium including Renaissance Construction, which made a name for itself beyond the Turkish borders with its investments in infrastructure, construction, property development, health, industry and energy sectors in Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East and North Africa.

Ranking 37th globally and 10th in Europe in the Engineering News Record’s (ENR) “The Top 250 International Contractors” list in 2015, Rönesans has marked its name in Europe by completing the Gotthard Base project, world’s longest and deepest tunnel at 57 km long and 2,300 meters in depth.

The opening celebrations of the tunnel, which is considered as a tangible reflection of values such as innovation and reliability, will continue throughout the week. Besides from Switzerland, approximately 100 thousand of people from all over Europe are expected to attend to the celebrations.


Rönesans Holding Board Member Cenk Düzyol, commented on this important success of Rönesans Holding, which continuously grew in Europe after its acquisitions of Hergiswill, Austrian Alpine Bau GMBH’s subsidiary in Switzerland and the German company Heitkamp.

Referring to the continuous and rapid grow of Renaissance Construction on a global scale, Düzyol said, “We, as our company Renaissance, have so far successfully completed and continue to carry out 500 projects with our 40 thousand employees on 3 different continents and in 21 countries. For the project, which will unite Europe from the North to the South, an investment of approximately 20.8 billion euros is expected by 2020. The budget, which has been foreseen for the Gotthard Base Tunnel, is around 10 billion euros. The Gotthard Base Tunnel, which has a great importance in the European transportation and freight industry, was a 100 years dream of Europe. 
We, as Rönesans, are proud to have made that dream come true.” and continued:

“Gotthard Base Tunnel will increase the total transport capacity throughout the Alps, and by connecting Zurich to Milan and Lugano, it will reduce the travel time of passenger and freight trains. Reducing the travel time between Zurich and Milan by an hour to two hours 40 minutes, the tunnel is a showpiece of state-of-the-art construction and infrastructure technology and it has also managed to be the most obvious evidence of the importance that Rönesans gives to the environment and sustainability. Gotthard Base, which we designed with the most advanced technology and highest standards for the high-speed trains with up to 250 km per hour and heavy freight trains, will at the same increase the transportation capacity in the Alps, while also protecting it. The tunnel has a daily capacity of 65 passenger trains and 260 freight trains. In addition to all these, the environmental pollution and possible accidents and injuries will be prevented by providing the transition from road transportation to railway transportation.”


Johannes Dotter, the CEO of Heitkamp Swiss, a daughter company of the Rönesans Group mentioned the features that make the Gotthard Base Tunnel privileged, the construction of which was carried out by TTG (Transtec Gotthard) with its sub-joint venture AFTTG (ARGE Fahrbahn Transtec Gotthard), as well as the TAT Consortium (Tunnel Alp Transit-Ticino) and said: ““Gotthard Base Tunnel is not only a boon for the Swiss citizens. The tunnel will bring the northern and southern Europe closer in terms of transportation. With Gotthard Base, Switzerland will be integrated into the Europe’s growing high speed rail network.”

Noting that Gotthard Base consists of two 57-kilometer-long single-track tubes and the total length of the tunnel system, including all cross-passages, access tunnels and shafts, is over 152 km, Dotter added, “Gotthard Base is at the same time the deepest rail tunnel in the world.”

Pointing out the frequent and long-term tests for maximum safety in the Gotthard Base which is connecting Italy, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, Dotter mentioned that 5,000 test runs will have been conducted until operation starts. This figure also equals to circumnavigating the earth three times.


Gotthard Base Tunnel is taken as the construction project of the century. It is 7km longer than the Channel tunnel that connects England and France, and has overtaken previous record-holder, the Seikan rail tunnel, which was opened in 1988, as the longest in the world.

In addition to being the longest tunnel, Gotthard differentiates itself from its competitors with its depth and tunnel course which is flat and smooth. Its maximum elevation is 550 meters above sea level and it makes only minor climbs and it does not have any tight curves.

Millions of cubic meters of rock were excavated with the tunnel boring machines, “giant moles”, as they are known. The total amount of excavated rock is said to be equivalent to five times of the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

Today, the “rail transportation” is the backbone of the Swiss economy. Linking different regions of the country and guiding the Swiss economy, the railway is the heart of trade, tourism and transportation.

And now, it will be possible to accelerate railway journey times with the Gotthard Base Tunnel. Connecting the North Sea to the Mediterranean, this giant project will allow the passenger trains to pass the Alps with top speeds up to 250 km per hour. The travel time between Zurich and Milan will be reduced by an hour to two hours 40 minutes. These figures are met with great enthusiasm in Switzerland, which is holding the title of “Railway Travel World Champion” with 2,300 km of railway travel per person per year.

Therefore, the tunnel is expected to support the entire economy significantly by providing trade acceleration, increase in the daily tourism and property sales, as well as raising the property prices.

In addition to providing great convenience to travelers, the tunnel will have an impact on the freight transportation, which is more important for the national economy and the environment. It is mentioned that in the near future, 260 freight trains will be able to pass the Gotthard Tunnel per day instead of maximum 180 trains as currently. This way, part of the freight transportation between the northern and southern Europe will be shifted from road to rail.

It is also clear that the tunnel significantly contribute to the protection of the Alps. However, the experts are predicting a more significant reduction in the exhaust emissions occurring from the road transport after the completion of the new Alpine tunnels.

The Gotthard Base History:

1882 Opening of the Gotthard summit tunnel

1947 First drawings for a base tunnel between Amsteg and Bodio

1963 Commission on a rail tunnel through the Alps examines the different options

1992 The Swiss people approve the bill for the New Rail Link through the Alps (NRLA)

1999 Start of work on the main part of the Gotthard Base Tunnel

2002 First tunnel boring machine in use in the Gotthard Base Tunnel

2007 Opening of the Lötschberg Base Tunnel

2010 Breakthrough in the main part of the Gotthard Base Tunnel

2016 Official opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel

2020 Planned opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel

Gotthard Base Tunnel by Numbers

57 km – the longest railway tunnel in the world

152 km – total length of all tunnels

Less than 20 minutes – travel time through the tunnel

2,300m – the deepest tunnel of the world (maximum rock cover beneath the mountain)

17 years – total construction time of the tunnel

325 trains: daily capacity of the tunnel with 65 passenger and 260 freight trains

28.2 million tonnes – amount of excavated material

10 billion euros – the cost since 1998. Total cost of the project is approx. 20.8 billion euros.

250km/h – Maximum speed trains can reach

4,000 tonnes – maximum weight of the freight trains that can travel through the tunnel

11 December 2016 – date of tunnel getting put in service

About Rönesans Group

Rönesans Holding, the conglomerate's top investment entity headquartered in Ankara, is the 38th largest international contracting company globally and the 9th largest in Europe. With operations spanning 30 countries across Europe, Central Asia, and Africa, including subsidiaries such as Ballast Nedam in the Netherlands and Heitkamp Industrial Solutions GmbH in Germany, Rönesans has been operating as the main contractor and investor successfully for 30 years in construction, real estate development, healthcare and energy. Putting resilience and growth through innovation at the core of the company, with a priority on sustainability and social development, Rönesans has developed projects supporting students with scholarships, academic platforms and initiatives; been a signatory of the UN Global Compact since 2015; and a signatory of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles since 2016.

Under the leadership of its president, Erman Ilıcak, Rönesans, along with its partners GIC, Meridiam Infrastructure, Sojitz, Samsung C&T, TotalEnergies, and IFC of the World Bank Group (minority shareholder in the group), has invested more than EUR8 billion into pioneering projects globally.

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