Opened in 1991, the Karavanke tunnel is a 7.8 km section of road that runs beneath the Alps between Slovenia and Austria. In 2016, it was decided that a second tunnel was needed to meet increasing demand, with a view to open it by 2021. The new tunnel will run parallel to the existing tube, which is a critical section on the Pan-European Corridor X.
The original project was challenging for a number of reasons, including some unexpected geological complexity on the Slovenian side. At that time, modelling was virtually hand drawn section by section, and geological problems had to be solved as they were reached.
To avoid this situation arising again, Leapfrog Works 3D modelling is being used to clearly “see” these challenges and risks, and design the project accordingly.
Seequent’s General Manager of Civil & Environmental, Dan Wallace, says “The geology in the area is very complex and the initial tunnel encountered difficult geological conditions with frequent strong water inflow, overbreaks and methane seeps. The opportunity with the new Karavanke tunnel is to ensure costly oversights are avoided by transforming engineering geology, geotechnics and tunnelling, using 3D modelling in this design phase of the project.”
Construction of the new tunnel is currently at tender, and is planned to begin this year.