Switzerland is known for its stunning mountain range that covers nearly 70% of the country. The mountains create natural barriers, making it challenging to construct roads and railways on the surface. As a result, tunnels have been built to provide efficient transportation connections between the different regions of the country.
Switzerland boasts one of the most efficient and punctual public transport systems in the world. Trains and buses regularly run through tunnels, making it possible for people to commute comfortably, even through challenging mountainous regions. Switzerland has invested heavily in its transport infrastructure in the last 100 years, including an extensive network of tunnels for roads and railways. These tunnels connect major cities, towns, and regions, facilitating smooth transportation and reducing travel times.
As early as 1707, the Ticino engineer Pietro Morettini built the first traffic tunnel, the "Urnerloch". Since then, over 1300 such structures have been built with a total of 2000 km of roads and rails. There is no doubt that the Swiss enjoy a reputation as excellent tunnel builders. Since 2016, the world's longest railway tunnel with its 57 km has been running through the Gotthard massif. The construction of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is impressive: 2400 workers, 17 years of construction, 11 billion construction costs. Every day, 260 freight trains and 65 passenger trains pass through. The 28 million m3 of excavated rock are partly recycled as railway ballast or aggregate for concrete. When you drive through, you will find the excavated rock as shotcrete on the inner vault. As you can see, Switzerland is also specialised in recycling tunnels.