Polish contractor Budimex has won a €34m contract to prepare for the drilling of a 4km-long, high-speed rail tunnel in the Polish city of Łódź.
It will build the launching and receiving chambers for the tunnel boring machine (TBM) at either end of the tunnel’s route.
The contract is part of Poland’s Centralny Port Komunikacyjny (CPK), a transport mega-project involving a new international airport west of Warsaw and some 2,000km of new high-speed rail lines.
The tunnel at Łódź will let the high-speed line from Warsaw split into a Y shape, with one branch continuing southwest to Wrocław and the other heading northwest to Poznań.
CPK aims to put all of Poland’s large cities within 2.5 hours’ travel time to the new airport at Warsaw.
TBM launch chamber
Budimex, which is 50.14% owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, will build the TBM’s launch chamber in the city’s Retkinia district at the tunnel’s southwestern end.
The receiving chamber will go downtown on the western side of the Łódź Fabryczna rail station.
As it approaches Fabryczna station, the tunnel will pass under the expansive premises of the Łódź Cultural Centre (Łódzki Dom Kultury, or ŁDK).
In preparation for that, Keller Polska began strengthening the LDK’s foundations in September.
Announcing Budimex’s contract, government minister and representative to CPK, Marcin Horała, criticised politicians who cancelled a similar high-speed scheme 12 years ago.
“Our predecessors made the fateful decision in 2011 where the preparations for the construction of a high-speed line connecting Warsaw, Łódź and Sieradz with Wrocław and Poznań were suspended,” he said.
“No one can give this time back to the residents. That is why it is only today, thanks to the CPK investments, that the construction of the Y-shaped railway route can begin.”