The TBM, known as Virginia, travelled a distance of approximately 14,000 metres while installing 56.800 prefab tubbing rings in the eastern main tunnel.
Virginia, which is approximately 200 metres long, started from the assembly chamber and headed towards the Brenner Pass. Achieving this goal means that a significant part of the first main tunnel, where trains will run in the future, has been completed.
The highlight was a live broadcast for the participants, who were able to watch the installation of the last prefab tubbing ring. This took place at 12.35. For the occasion, the TBM operators dyed the last prefab tubbing ring with the Austrian and Italian national colours. Afterwards, the tunnel boring machine was stopped and the achievement of the final position was enthusiastically applauded by the participants.
For the members of the Board of Directors of BBT SE, Gilberto Cardola and Martin Gradnitzer, the arrival of one of the TBMs at the Brenner Pass represents a very important day for the entire project. "With the completion of the first excavation of the eastern main tunnel in Italy, the Brenner Base Tunnel achieves a fundamental goal. Special recognition goes, above all, to the TBM operators. The mechanised excavation within this section was carried out safely and the team did their utmost every day to ensure that the TBM would be able to reach the state border today. Our thanks also go to the planners, engineers, geologists and all employees of BBT SE who contributed significantly to this achievement".
Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Matteo Salvini: "Today I am proud to be able to say that many great works are under construction in Italy, and certainly the Brenner Base Tunnel is one of the most important. This tunnel, designed to unite two countries, represents Italy and Austria, which say yes to large infrastructures and which look to the future with enthusiasm'.
Arno Kompatscher, Governor of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano: "It is a wonderful coincidence that, in the very week in which we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Schengen Convention, we reach this important milestone in the construction of the Brenner Base Tunnel," says President of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano Arno Kompatscher. "Next April 1 will also be the 25th anniversary of the removal of the border barrier at the Brenner Pass. The Brenner Base Tunnel is a concrete example of fruitful cooperation in the European Union aimed at overcoming borders and uniting countries and peoples".
Virginia, the TBM that marks a record
The 'H61 Mules 2-3' construction lot is the largest lot of the entire Brenner Base Tunnel project and comprises a tunnel system of approximately 65 km.
During its journey within this lot, which started on 22nd May 2019, the Virginia TBM excavated a daily average of 10.2 metres, with a maximum of 40.5 metres in one day (February, 16th 2020).
Virginia has a total weight of 2750 tonnes - equivalent to about eight fully-loaded Boeing 747 aircraft - and an engine power of 4200 kW - comparable to 17 Formula 1 cars.
The real record, for which Virginia set itself apart from all other existing machines of comparable boring head diameter (10.71 metres), was set in March 2021. In one month, Virginia excavated an impressive 859.50 metres.