Poland to construct its longest single transport tunnel of any kind

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Poland is set to construct the longest single transport tunnel of any kind, road and rail, in the country. With a proposed length of almost 3.8 km (2.4 miles), the tunnel will cut across part of the Western Beskids mountains in the south of the country.

Currently, the longest tunnel in the country is the 2.34-kilometre Expressway S2 Tunnel in Warsaw, also known as the Ursynów Tunnel. The latter is a highway tunnel that’s part of the S2 expressway in Warsaw that opened at the end of 2021. From the west, the tunnel entry begins at Węzeł Ursynów Zachód junction. In the east, the tunnel joins the Węzeł Ursynów Wschód junction.

Poland’s longest tunnel will be built under a project to modernize the section of railway between Nowy Sącz and the village of Chabówka, both of which are located in the southern province of Małopolska. Recently, PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A. announced that it had signed a 1.9-billion-zloty (€444 million) contract for the development of the project in question.

PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe S.A is the Polish railway infrastructure manager, responsible for the maintenance of railway tracks, conducting the trains across the country, scheduling train timetables, and management of railway land. The company is currently responsible for over 18,806 kilometres of rail tracks.

Implementation of the project to modernize the section of railway between Nowy Sącz and the village of Chabówka

The project at large will be carried out by a consortium comprised of Budimex and Gülermak Heavy Industry Construction and Contracting Inc. Budimex is one of the largest commercial construction groups operating in Poland. The company is also recognized around the world for its experience, knowledge, skilled personnel, and iconic projects.

Gülermak on the other hand is a Turkish company that has been playing a key role in the construction industry at both domestic and international markets since its establishment in 1958. The company is recognized as a leader in rail system projects, infrastructure projects and industrial projects as well as for its deeply rooted corporate culture and highly experienced staff.

According to Polish deputy infrastructure minister Piotr Malepszak, the project, which is due to be completed in 2026, will see the modernization of infrastructure built almost 150 years ago. The aftermath will be reduced travel times between Kraków and Nowy Sącz. To be precise, the project will cut travel time between these two regions from around three hours to just one hour.

Funding for the construction of Poland’s longest tunnel

The construction of Poland’s longest tunnel as well as the implementation of the modernization project it is a part of are a part of a broader programme to improve rail infrastructure in the region. This programme also comprises the construction of a new line connecting Kraków with the Podhale and Sądecczyzna regions that lie along the mountainous border with Slovakia.

Set for completion by 2029, the entire programme will help cut train journey times between Kraków and Zakopane to 90 minutes from around 2 hours and 20 minutes. The programme also encompasses improvements to station infrastructure, including creating platforms that will be fully accessible to people with reduced mobility.

The entire programme including the modernization project and construction of Poland’s longest tunnel is funded through the National Reconstruction Plan (KPO), or rather, the EU’s post-pandemic recovery fund.

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