Revealed: Here’s the Winner of Construction Story of the Year 2023
Tunnel Eurapin Lyon Turin (TELT) – the team behind the record-breaking Mont Cenis Base Tunnel that’s currently under construction in the Alps – has been unveiled as the winner of Construction Story of the Year 2023.
The expert judging panel was impressed by the immense scale and ambition of the project, the digital collaboration between its construction teams, its clear long term environmental, economic and social impact, and its propensity to inspire future generations of engineers.
Above: The winner being announced by The B1M's Fred Mills and Nemetschek's Matt Wheelis.
“The Mont Cenis Base Tunnel is an awe-inspiring project” Mills said. “It’s the kind of scheme that sparked my wonder of construction growing-up and I have no doubt the engineers of tomorrow will get that same feeling. It really speaks to the scale, ingenuity, and impact of this amazing industry.”
“This was an incredible feat from all stakeholders involved to bring this tunnel beneath the alps to completion” said Wheelis. “It was a massive undertaking throughout the entire lifecycle of the project – from planning, to design, to construction. The impact this tunnel will have long-term is notable, and I am delighted that it will help to shape a more sustainable future through the reduction of carbon emissions.”
"We are very happy and very proud to win Construction Story of the Year" said Manuela Rocca, TELT Deputy General Director responsible for sustainability.
"This is important feedback for us about the interest that the Mont Cenis Base Tunnel generates. For us a fundamental part of our mission at TELT, as a public promoter, is the dissemination of knowledge about the project's work. This great recognition helps us achieve that."
Above: The B1M's short video feature on this year's winning entry.
It’s hard to imagine a construction project getting more epic than this.
Geographically, Lyon and Turin aren’t that far apart, but try and plot the most direct route between them on a map and you’ll spot a mountain range called the Alps blocking your path.
Such monumental obstacles weren’t an issue for the teams at Tunnel Eurapin Lyon Turin (TELT) – the public binational promoter responsible for the cross-border section of a new 270-kilometre rail line running between the two cities.
Collaborating across two different nations and multiple industries, they’ve picked-up their shovels (or tunnel boring machines) and are now in the process of digging a direct rail route right through the very base of the mountains.
Above: Teams working to dig the Mont Cenis Base Tunnel, deep under the Alps. Image courtesy of TELT.
The remarkable 57.5-kilometre new Mont Cenis Base Tunnel will run in a near flat, straight line beneath the Alps on the French-Italian border.
The adoption of a “base tunnel” enables trains to run at higher speeds and travel more directly than they do now: the current route involves a slow and winding four-hour train climb up and over the mountain peaks.
Above and Below: The TELT team is constructing an astonishing 57.5-kilometre base tunnel to carry the new Lyon-Turin railway beneath the Alps. Top image courtesy of TELT. Bottom image by The B1M.
As you might imagine, there’s little room for error. Having developed its graphical and non-graphical project data in an open building information modelling (BIM) environment, the team is now deploying numerous digital collaboration and tracking tools on site to exchange and manage the huge volume of project information.
One of the key challenges from an engineering perspective is varying ground conditions. As a result, crews are using a mixture of drill and blast techniques and tunnel boring machines to steadily excavate the route.
Once complete, the $9BN feat of engineering will become the world’s longest rail tunnel.
Above: One of the project's construction sites on the Italian side of the Alps. Image courtesy of TELT.
But this is more than just an impressive construction project, and the scheme in fact forms part of one of Europe’s most critical infrastructure schemes: the TEN-T transport network.
When finished, the railway will create a new low-carbon link between Western and Central-Eastern Europe, cutting journey times and delivering significant economic benefits. It’s projected that the project could take over a million trucks off the road each year.
Above: This year's expert judging panel included a balanced and diverse range of perspectives from across the global construction industry.
In reaching their final decision, the Construction Story of the Year judges noted the project’s scale, spirit of collaboration and powerful ability to inspire both people across the industry and those currently considering joining it.
Other shortlisted entries included the work of Scaffold Resource and KEWAZO, who employed robotics and an innovative approach to the complex task of repainting the US Capitol, and the Northwest Outfall Team that led Arizona’s critical Northwest Outfall Sewer Replacement project.
The B1M created short video features on each of the three shortlisted projects and distributed them across its audience. Feedback from the industry and wider public was then used to inform the judges’ final decision on the winner.
Construction Story of the Year 2023 was developed by The B1M and Nemetschek Group to highlight the industry’s most impressive and inspiring stories. It sought to find a story that could capture the best of construction and become a beacon for promoting the sector to the wider world.
The TELT team’s work on the Mont Cenis Base Tunnel joins an inspiring rank of previous Construction Story of the Year winners, including the ITER nuclear fusion project (2022) and WTA Architecture’s rapid deployment medical facility (2021).
Congratulations to the TELT team and all our finalists, and a huge thank you to everyone that entered this year!