On July 6, at a gathering attended by its Chairman and CEO Xavier Huillard in Poitiers - France, the VINCI Group announced the completion of earthworks and civil engineering works for the 340 km South Europe Atlantic high-speed rail line in record time.
VINCI took the opportunity to commend the performance and engagement of COSEA, the construction joint venture responsible for designing and building the South Europe Atlantic high-speed line, which took only 38 months to complete all earthworks and civil engineering works. Over the three-year period, the construction teams set up a large number of worksites along the alignment to build the 340 km rail infrastructure, 24 viaducts and 500 engineering structures.
The record completion time made it possible to hand over the roadbed ahead of schedule to the teams in charge of installing the rail equipment, who are now progressing at a rate of 2x650 metres of platform per day.
“The Group’s employees, SME and ISE partners and subcontractors together performed the feat of completing this gigantic earthworks and civil engineering project in three years of works. The outsized project was a major challenge in terms of organisation, production and management, employing 8,500 people simultaneously at the height of activity. This great success reflects the uncompromising engagement of our construction teams, whom I take this opportunity to commend. The most visible part of the project is now behind us, as we move on to the second stage of the project focused on railway equipment. The success of this second stage is a huge responsibility for VINCI, but it also gives the Group a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate, once again, the power of its integrated concession-construction approach and the vitality of the public private partnership concept. The goal, which we all share, is to meet the target date of 31 July 2017, when the line is scheduled to begin commercial operation,” said Xavier Huillard.
An exemplar social and environmental project
The project was carried out in consultation and in partnership with the local stakeholders. In environmental terms, the Group’s teams worked day-to-day with non-profit organisations to optimally blend the infrastructure into its environment. They identified more than 220 protected species. In social terms, COSEA, Pôle Emploi (the French job centre) and the local authorities also worked closely together to recruit and train 2,000 local workers, who joined the 6,500 employees of the partner companies. Among other things, this partnership arrangement made it possible to exceed the initial target work integration objective, nearly doubling the number of work integration hours to 4.5 million of the 25 million total hours worked. Three-quarters of the people recruited locally for the infrastructure project were redeployed to the railway project or outplaced, notably via the Fondation COSEA pour Entreprendre (COSEA Enterprise Foundation), which supports business creation. Lastly, the project was exemplary in terms of safety, recording no accidents with serious consequences throughout the 25 million hours worked.
The Tours-Bordeaux high-speed rail line: one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects
The 340 kilometres line, which includes 40 km of connections to the conventional rail system, represents a total investment of €7.8 billion and constitutes the largest railway sector public private partnership ever signed in France and one of Europe’s largest infrastructure projects.
Following the six years required to design and build it, the line will shorten the travel time between Bordeaux and Paris to two hours and five minutes.
The 50-year concession contract covers financing, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Tours-Bordeaux SEA HSL. Design and works, under LISEA programme management, were entrusted to the COSEA construction joint venture led by VINCI Construction and also including Eurovia and the VINCI Energies business line, in association with BEC, NGE, TSO, Ineo, INEXIA, Arcadis and Egis Rail. Work got under way in the first half of 2012. The MESEA company, held jointly by shareholders VINCI Concessions (70%) and INEXIA (30%), will be responsible for operating and maintaining the line.
• 340 km and 40 km of connections;
• 113 municipalities, 6 French départements, 3 regions;
• Around 500 engineering structures, including 24 viaducts;
• 8,500 jobs for works companies at the height of activity
•150 permanent jobs to handle commercial service (operation and maintenance) once construction has been completed;
• 20% of the hours worked on the infrastructure project were part of the work integration scheme;
• Mitigation of the impact on the natural environment will involve more than 3,500 hectares of offsets.