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The Bretagne-Pays de la Loire high speed rail link project approaches peak construction

11.06.2013

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Work on the Bretagne-Pays de la Loire high speed rail link, the largest contract ever won by Eiffage (3 billion euros), is mounting: the site will reach peak construction in the summer 2013. 

Over 600 machines are currently working on the route. The number of people working at the site has also risen: 2,700 at the end of March, including subcontractors, and 3,045 by the end of April (compared to 1,700 in late 2012).

5 million cubic metres of earthworks have already been completed, out of a total 26 million required to finish the project. The objective is to carry out 15 million cubic metres of earthworks this year which, together with the 2 million completed in 2012, will bring the total to at least 17 million cubic metres by the end of 2013. 

At the same time, 70 civil engineering works are currently being constructed, out of the total 238 needed for the high speed rail link: rail bridges, road bridges, grade separations to pass over existing railway lines, etc

 

This increase in activity is the culmination of the preparatory phase during which all the administrative authorisations were obtained and the detailed final design was submitted to the French Railway Company (Réseau Ferroviaire de France - RFF) within the deadline. In addition, some 98.5% of the required land has been released.

In terms of the environment, the technical rights of way were reduced to a minimum, as were resulting impacts on biodiversity. Some 650 hectares of compensatory measures are to be implemented to cover the 2,275 hectares of rights of way. 

The works should be completed by 2016 and commissioning is scheduled for 15 May 2017. The project is being financed by the French Railway Company for 1.8 billion euros and Eiffage for 1.2 billion euros, 125 million euros from equity plus 1.075 billion euros from bank funding (provided by a pool of twelve business banks, partially refinanced on commissioning by the European Investment Bank for 553 million euros and the Caisse des Dépôts for 254 million). 

Eiffage will be paid fixed rents by the French Railway Company that will be operating the link during the twenty-five year contract. As the Group will be maintaining the link until 2016, Eiffage Rail Express has already recruited a future director for the maintenance company.

© Philippe Dontot.