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Ceremonial completion of tunnel construction in the U5 extension to the Europaviertel project

On 1 July 2022, an important milestone was celebrated in the U5 extension project to the Europaviertel in Frankfurt am Main: The safe completion of the mining tunnel construction work under the Platz der Republik. After tunnel boring machine (TBM) EVA had excavated about 850 metres of each tube, PORR Tunnelbau produced 11 metres of tunnel in the south tube and three metres in the north tube by mining under compressed air in 24/7 shift operation.

The PORR team with tunnel godmother Franziska Reichenbacher. © PORR

Since March 2022, the existing wall has been exposed 17 metres below one of Frankfurt's most important traffic junctions in both tunnel tubes. In the last few months, the inner tunnel shell was constructed with formwork made of wood and reinforcing steel and then concreted in stages. A breakthrough to the existing tunnel will not take place until a later date, because the wall will not have to be opened until the track system and technical installations such as cable ducts are installed in the transition between the tubes and the existing tunnel. Until then, the wall that currently separates the new and the old tunnel serves as an emergency bulkhead. In the event of an unforeseen accident, both the existing and the new tunnel tubes are protected.

To honour the successful work of the tunnel builders, Frankfurt's city council came together on 1 July 2022. Frankfurt's head of department for mobility and health, Stefan Majer, the client Stadtbahn Europaviertel Projektbaugesellschaft mbH (SBEV) and Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main mbH (VGF), the tunnel sponsor Franziska Reichenbach and PORR - including Jürgen Raschendorfer, COO of PORR AG, Claude-Patrick Jeutter, technical managing director of PORR in Germany, and Rainer Rengshausen, head of the tunnel construction department - came together on 1 July 2022. Together they recalled the course of the project to date with all its challenges and milestones and thanked the miners for their outstanding work.

With the completion of the tunnel construction work, the office of the tunnel godmother Franziska Reichenbacher also comes to an end. As the earthly representative of St Barbara, the patron saint of tunnel builders, she has accompanied and regularly visited the construction site since 2019. "It was an exciting time and with the utmost respect for this work and the achievement, I will always think fondly of this special construction site. It was impressive to be able to be so close and to experience what was achieved here underground in the tunnel. Thank you for this wonderful task. I am particularly pleased that the tunnel construction went so safely and that there were no serious accidents. Wherever the tunnel builders move on to now - I wish the boys all the best! Good luck to you all!" says tunnel godmother Franziska Reichenbacher in farewell.


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