Swiss Finish World's Longest Tunnel
Train will connect Switzerland to Italy
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2010 2:50 PM CDT
A worker takes a break in the shaft of the track change between the two tunnels in the Gotthard Base Tunnel's "Faido" section near Faido in the canton of Ticino, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Martin Ruetschi)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Switzerland is expected to break through the last few inches of rock to complete the world’s largest tunnel today. The 35.4-mile Gotthard Base rail burrows under the Gotthard massif on the route connecting Switzerland to Italy, the AP reports. The trains running through the tunnel will one day haul the goods currently carried over the mountains by foreign trucks—which, the Swiss fear, are damaging the Alpine landscape.

It’ll be a few more years before the tunnel is actually open for business, however. The project was approved by voters almost 20 years ago in a series of referendums, and it hasn’t been cheap; each taxpayer is paying roughly $1,300 for the tunnel. “The Swiss love their mountains,” says an advocate from the Alpen-Initiative. “Every Swiss has a link to the Alps.”