Astaldi, in joint venture with Impregilo and Ghella, is to build two new railway lines in Venezuela valuing a total of USD2.2 billion. The two new lines are San Juan de los Morros-Dos Caminos-Calabozo-San Fernando de Apure (252 km) and Chaguaramas-Las Mercedes-Cabruta (201 km). The works are part of intergovernmental agreements between Italy and Venezuela. The joint venture, in which each member holds equal 33.33% stakes, will carry out the works for the two railway sections over the course of 76 months. Start-up is planned for the second quarter of 2006, immediately after the contracts are signed. The project, which is aimed at fostering the development of Venezuela's central and southern area, involves building 453 km of new railway lines, 15 km of which in tunnel and with 12 km of bridges and viaducts. The project also includes designing and installing superstructure, 13 railway stations, three logistic centres, and a maintenance workshop. In addition to the value of the works to build the lines, there will also be USD1 billion in options for designing, supplying and assembling railway systems (signals, control, telecommunications, electrification and rolling stock). Visit www.astaldi.com, www.impregilo.it, www.ghellagroup.com and www.infraestructura.gov.ve 16/06.The joint venture between Astaldi, Ghella and Impregilo has signed its two contracts worth a total of USD2.2 billion with Venezuela's autonomous state railways (IAFE). The signing of the contracts follows intergovernmental agreements reached in April between Italy and Venezuela. The contracts concern the construction of the new San Juan de los Morros-San Fernando de Apure (252 km) and Chaguaramas-Cabruta (201 km) railway lines. These 453 kilometres of new lines involve 15 km of tunnels and 12 km of bridges and viaducts. Visit www.astaldi.com, www.impregilo.it, www.ghellagroup.com and www.infraestructura.gov.ve 25/06.GEI, a consortium formed by Astaldi, Ghella and Impregilo will be responsible for the construction of the 251 km San Juan de los Morros-San Fernando de Apure rail line, whereof 41 km in the mountain and 210 km in plain. The line totals a cost of USD1.6 billion. The contract has been signed and the site is being prepared. It is a design/build contract. At this stage, the project is in the design phase so that many of the technical aspects will have to be defined in the future, once the project is finalised. From the operational point of view, the planning and organisation of the project is underway and soon the sites will be prepared and mobilised.This line has been divided in lots, the construction of which will be undertaken by the contractors who teamed to form the consortium GEI. According to the preliminary project, ten single bored tunnels will be constructed for a total of 16 km. The cross section is 90 sq m. There are no other underground structures (stations, shafts, etc.). Geology consists of metamorphic rock (micaschists).Ghella will build the 6.3 km San Juan tunnel (from chainage 2+300 to chainage 8+600), which is part of subsection D1-G which goes from chainage 0+000 to 11+611, to be also fully built by Ghella. The other tunnels on the line are part of the subsections awarded to Impregilo and Astaldi (see pdf here of how the tunnels are divided and pdf here of the division into lots). Visit www.ghellagroup.com, www.astaldi.com and www.impregilo.itThe planned tunnelling method is to use hydraulic breakers where possible (FIAT Kobelco excavators and Krupp and Indeco hammers) and drilling and blasting with Atlas Copco jumbo drill rigs, Cat and FIAT Kobelco loaders, and Astra trucks. There will be six working faces. Visit www.fiatkobelco.com, www.indeco-breakers.com, www.atlascopco.com, www.cat.com and www.astraspa.comFor support, Swellex bolts, three CIFA shotcrete pumps and three Scamac shotcrete pumps will be used. The shotcrete will be reinforced with Maccaferri fibres. Visit www.swellex.com, www.cifa.com, www.scamac.com and www.maccaferri.comFor mucking-out, 12 Cat 966 loaders, FIAT Kobelco loaders and 24 Astra trucks will be used in addition to Dieci telescopic elevators. Visit www.dieci.com 48/06.