Partner from valley to peak to build a dam in the Swiss Alps

Just behind the Alpine peaks lies a great dam stretched out like an inverted “V” for over a kilometer. To build it, a ready mix concrete plant operates at an altitude of almost 2,500 meters above sea level. Despite extreme conditions, LafargeHolcim mobilized rail and cable-car capabilities as well as its experts to guarantee uninterrupted delivery of the necessary cement, fly ash, and binders materials.

 

The dam is a part of a major Alpine hydroelectric project, one of the largest and most spectacular in recent Swiss history. The project’s aim is to funnel water from Lake Mutt (pronounced “moot”) through massive tunnels to a power generation plant nestled deep inside the mountain. The water will then be released into Lake Limmern, approximately 600 meters below Mutt, where it can be pumped up again when needed.  
 
LafargeHolcim partnered with Marti Tunnelbau AG, the consortium leading this project, to provide an uninterrupted cement, fly ash, and binders supply. Standing on the ridge watching the concrete works, you can see that planning and partnership in action. 

There are no roads here, so the cement, fly ash, and binders supplied by LafargeHolcim are brought up by a specially constructed industrial cable car. Marti makes concrete both at a plant at the dam site and, for the tunnel and chamber linings, at a plant in the middle of the mountain. With limited room to store material, deliveries must always be correct and on time or risk costly delays.

LafargeHolcim is doing its part:

  • its plant at Untervaz has been guaranteeing an uninterrupted supply of cement (with backup from the Siggenthal plant). 
  • a constant rail link ensures timely delivery of the cement and binders as well as fly ash from LafargeHolcim Germany, thanks to 14 rail car deliveries per day. 
  • LafargeHolcim experts have also provided Marti with technical assistance on the concrete mix
  • LafargeHolcim has installed special electronic monitors on Marti’s material silos, giving both companies a real-time picture of the state of supplies.

The result? Everything delivered as needed, with no delays—despite peaks with over 700 tons, or 14 rail car deliveries, per day. “Marti has had a long, successful relationship with the people at LafargeHolcim,” Remo Pinazza, Project Manager for Marti Tunnelbau AG, says. “We know we can count on them. With LafargeHolcim, we had one less thing to worry about on this project.”