LafargeHolcim cement, concrete and aggregates at the heart of the Swiss Alps with the Ceneri base tunnel

19 March 2012

The Gotthard Alptransit (ATG) rail project is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in Switzerland, reducing transit time between the cities of Zurich and Milan by one hour. Scheduled to be completed in 2019, the Ceneri base tunnel plays an integral part, stretching over 15 km below the surrounding alpine peaks. LafargeHolcim is a key player in its development, providing cement, RMX concrete and aggregates.


Construction on the CHF 2.4 billion tunnel began in 2005 by AlpTransit Gotthard AG, a joint venture of State and Swiss rail (SBB). The Ceneri base tunnel consists of two single-track rail tubes, each 15.4 km in length. It will be the third section of the Gotthard Alptransit tunnel (ATG), in addition to the existing Gotthard base tunnel, to which LafargeHolcim also contributed.

Our experience with Gotthard, together with our technical expertise, allowed us to offer a unique solution that continues to deliver value as the tunnel moves forward. For the Ceneri tunnel, LafargeHolcim accompanied the contractor from project conception to the bidding process and through to construction, providing expert advice and an integrated solution for cement, RMX concrete and aggregates.  We were preferred over all other suppliers thanks to our ability to provide “one interface” for all customer needs.

Over the life of the project, we expect to deliver:

  • 390,000 tons of cement for ready-mix (RMX) concrete (100% of the required volumes),
  • 1.3 million m3 of RMX concrete,
  • 1.6 million tons of aggregates (80% of total volumes).

We were able to provide durable, robust concrete even when using various types of recycled material, with all materials designed for a 100-year life cycle. To respond to project requirements, we use at least 20% recycled aggregates derived from the reused excavation material.

In addition, LafargeHolcim provided technical support through our technical lab, which allowed to ensure quality control for RMX concrete and adaptation of mix design to changing ratio recycled/delivered aggregates.

LafargeHolcim complete logistics solution to ensure product delivery

To ensure a constant RMX concrete supply, we maintain rotating shifts working around the clock. Our logistics presence helped to guarantee a steady supply of material and included the following:

  • On-site cement silo,
  • Installation of mobile RMX concrete plant 2.3 km under mountain in only six months,
  • Operating temporary RMX concrete plant,
  • Trucks and trains to ensure delivery of cement and aggregates to RMX plants,
  • Backup solution if logistic chain interrupted (e.g. strong winter/rail interruption).

The Ceneri tunnel will be the last piece of the ATG puzzle, ensuring rapid transport between Zürich and Milan happens safely below the pristine Swiss Alps.