UKRAINE: Celebrations on May 24 marked the formal completion of the Beskyd tunnel construction project, enabling the first revenue-earning trains to pass through it the following day.

The 1 822 m long tunnel has been built to alleviate a single-track bottleneck on the Lviv – Chop section of pan-European Corridor V. The main line linking western Ukraine and the Hungarian border carries 60% of all rail freight between the EU and Ukraine.

Excavated to a depth of 180 m, the new Beskyd tunnel has been one of the largest infrastructure projects to be delivered in Ukraine in recent years. Carrying a double-track alignment, the bore is 8·5 m high and 10·5 m wide. It is expected to allow a doubling of throughput on the route from 45 trains per day to approximately 100, with line speed increasing from 40 km/h to 70 km/h.

Construction cost was €163m, of which national railway UZ met 30%, the European Investment Bank provided a €55m loan and EBRD contributed a further US$40m. Lead contractors Interbudmontazh and Porr began boring in November 2013 using the New Austrian Tunnel Method. Three cross-passages were excavated to the old tunnel, which is to be retained as an access route for emergencies.