Italian contractor Webuild has been named best bidder for a €367m design-and-build contract for a section of a high-speed railway that will run across the Italian boot from Naples to Bari.Â
The company is now in pole position to undertake the 12km section between the towns of Orsara and Bovino, roughly in the centre of the line, almost 10km of which will be a single tunnel.
It will work with contractor Pizzarotti in a joint venture 70% owned by Webuild.
The €6.2bn programme of work on the 220km Naples-Bari line aims to double an existing line’s capacity and improve services across the south of the country. When complete, trains will travel at speeds of up to 250km/h kilometres per hour, cutting the travel time between the two coastal cities from around three hours, 20 minutes to two hours.
Work on the line has been under way since 2015, and in 2019, Salini Impregilo and Astaldi won a €600m section between Apice and Hirpinia, including three tunnels and four viaducts. Since then Salini has changed its name to Webuild and completed the purchase of Astaldi.
The project was awarded €2bn in funding from the European Investment Bank in September last year.
The work is being organised by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, and will fall under the rubric of the National Plan of Recovery and Resilience, which aims to modernise Italy’s transport infrastructure and restart the economy after the coronavirus pandemic.
Webuild recently won a similar contract, worth €1bn, to design and build a section of a high-capacity railway extending from the Brenner Base Tunnel between Fortezza and Ponte Gardena on the Italian side of the Alps (see further reading).
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Image: Webuild at work on the Terzo Valico high-speed line in Italy (Courtesy of Webuild)