SPAIN: The completion of the first section of a 2∙9 km bored tunnel that will carry the high speed line between Barcelona and the French border under the city of Girona was marked by an official visit on September 17. Joining Development Minister José Blanco were ADIF President Antonio González, Mayor of Girona Anna Pagans and Joaquim Nadal, Minister of Planning & Public Works in the Catalunya regional government.

A 2 700 tonne earth-pressure balance TBM supplied by Herrenknecht and christened ‘Gerunda’, the Latin name for Girona, has completed a 1∙3 km south-north drive from a launch site at Mas Xirgu to the station box in the centre of the city. The box is 26 m below the surface and will accommodate two 400 m long platforms with four tracks.

The second phase of tunnelling work will see the TBM launched from the box towards Fontajau across the river Ter, boring a further 1∙6 km of tunnel with an internal diameter of 11 m at a maximum depth of 36 m. The high speed line to the French border is due for completion in 2012 and the 3∙6 km section through Girona is expected to cost €278·6m to build, including the new station.