The Slovenia Times

Karavanke tunnel excavation works completed

Works on the second tube of the Karavanke tunnel. Photo: Anže Malovrh/STA

After three and a half years of excavation, workers have broken through to the Austrian side of the Karavanke motorway tunnel, marking a major milestone in what is one of the biggest construction projects at the moment.

The breakthrough came several months later than originally planned because of the difficult geological conditions on the Slovenian side of the Karavanke mountain range, according to DARS, the national motorway company.

"We're glad that this moment has come," Infrastructure Minister Alenka Bratušek said on 6 March, a day after workers completed the final excavation works.

There is still a lot of work to be done, including laying the tarmac and installing lights, ventilation and signalling equipment. Bratušek expects the second tube to be opened for traffic next year.

Renovation works in the first tube will start immediately after that, so it will take a while before traffic will run on both tubes.

The Slovenian side of the second tube is 3.5 km long, while the Austrian one is a kilometre longer, yet Austrian contractors reached the Slovenian border back in September 2021.

A major reason for slower works on the Slovenian side were delays in the selection of the contractor, due to which the work started in August 2020, much later than in Austria.

The work is being carried out by Cengiz, a Turkish contractor, and the new tube on this key Slovenia-Austria motorway is slated for opening in the autumn of 2025.


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