By: L.K.F., STA
On the route of the second track between Divača and Koper, the Mlinarji tunnel, the first of seven tunnels, was broken through today. At the ceremony, the Minister of Infrastructure Bojan Kumer and the President of the Management Board of 2TDK Pavle Hevka pointed out that the light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible. Today, in front of the Mlinarji tunnel, they prepared a solemn breakthrough event.
The Mlinarji tunnel is 1,154 meters long, it will be built in a single-pipe version, and it will also have a 165-meter-long transverse side service or escape pipe in the middle. It is being built from the offensive site on the Koper side. The excavation of the tunnel began in September 2021, and the construction uses NATM (the so-called new Austrian method) technology, which is the method of digging and not drilling, as explained in the company 2 TDK.
The keynote speakers at the event were: Pavle Hevka, President of 2TDK, Bojan Kumer, Slovenian Minister of Infrastructure, Adil Karaismailoğlu, Turkish Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Kristjan Mugerli, Director of Kolektor CPG, and Başar Arioğlu, President of Yapi Merkezi.
The new Minister of Infrastructure reminded that the second track will increase the maximum throughput capacity from 94 trains to 212 trains per day, and the transport capacity from the current 14 million to 36.9 million tons per year. The distance will be reduced from the current 44 kilometres to 27 kilometres. Travel time and the burden on the environment and the local population will be reduced. Kumer also announced that the government will accelerate the implementation of the two-track line, which will enable more traffic and ensure a safe and peaceful life for the residents along the current line.
The director of 2TDK, Pavle Hevka, pointed out at the ceremony that they were overtaking the timetable by 43 days, and that the Mlinarji tunnel had saved ten percent of the planned funds. The construction of the tunnel was estimated at seven million euros. As he said, the tunnels were dug as early as 2000 BC and if water was brought through them then, “we will bring more development and prosperity to Slovenia after the Mlinarji tunnel and all others that follow”.
According to Hevka, a few days ago they exceeded the limit of five kilometres out of a total of 37 kilometres of tunnel pipes. “We still have a lot of challenges, problems, and worries ahead of us. From raising the price of materials to obtaining work permits, but I am convinced that we will manage all these challenges well and overcome them in time,” he assured.
On the side-lines of the event, Hevka explained that in the light of high price growth, 2TDK is also receiving requests for annexes. “We have discovered a recipe for how we will cover these differences, that is what will be over ten percent, will be in the domain of the client,” he said. The material was discussed by the 2TDK supervisory board last week, and the wish is for it to be discussed by the ministry as well, he added.
Hevka also announced an amendment to the investment plan, which is already being prepared. According to a rough estimate, the project could increase by 100 million, but as the first man of 2TDK pointed out, “we also have a lot of savings on the project”.
According to Minister Kumer, the Turkish contractors have ensured that everything is under control and supply is guaranteed, which, according to the Minister, means that they have planned the entire investment well. “Although it is true that prices are rising. We will see what this means for the investment itself,” he said.
Asked by reporters about a possible change at the helm of 2TDK, Kumer said the ministry would request a review of the situation, which they also did at the ministry. “Basic trust has been established, but I cannot foresee what can happen in the coming months,” he said.
“Honestly, I am not afraid, I am not doing anything wrong, the project is underway. This is in the hands of others, I do not decide on it for myself,” commented Hevka on his possible change at the head of 2TDK (in the style of other quick changes of the new government, such as the head of the NIJZ Milan Krek, etc.).
Sebastijan Mugerli, director of the executive company Kolektor CPG (which cooperates with the Turkish companies Yapi Merkezi and Özaltin), said that zeal and momentum are not enough to build the largest and most demanding infrastructure project in Slovenia. “The participation of all participants in the construction, professional staff, and teamwork are necessary for progress,” he emphasised.