Tunneling under the Alps

Tunneling under the AlpsTo most of the world, the majestic Alps present a scene of wonder. But to European merchants and truckers, they present a troublesome and costly roadblock. Enter the ambitious AlpTransit Tunnel.

At just over 56 miles, this Swiss monster is the longest tunnel in the world. That is, it will be once workers complete this enormous project. Follow a team of miners as they risk death beneath billions of pounds of mountain, slowly but surely carving out massive support and maintenance tunnels. For the main channel, engineers use custom-designed TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines) – 250 feet long, 33 feet in diameter, with 500-pound drilling heads that pound the rock into submission.

But, it's not as simple as digging a hole. In this subterranean world, rock actually explodes, walls crumble, floods erupt and great rivers of mud are seemingly everywhere. Watch as technicians outfit their men with special laser imaging equipment that helps workers forecast potential fractures and cave-ins. Once a section has been dug, concrete walls are thrown up to keep the newly carved portion from collapsing – but if the concrete dries too fast, it implodes under the pressure, and the mountain comes crashing down. It's just another day at the office for the world's most extreme engineers.

Watch the full documentary now (playlist)

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Ratings: 3.25/10 from 4 users.

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8 Comments / User Reviews

  1. brad reynolds

    Cool Documentary! If anyone is going to get it right it will be the Swiss. The narrator must be a billionaire....it's `that guy``. Thanks again Vlatko.....you always make my days off work that much better.

  2. Andrew

    Pretty cool. nice doc.

  3. nyc sandhog

    this is a great doc... only because this is what i do.. underneath nyc... the work is hard... but very rewarding (financially).. search google for "nyc sandhogs" and there are some cool videos about us..

  4. onsightfree

    This doc is way too much repetitiv, tells information that could be told in 2mins, and emphasises the possibility of danger way too much. I clicked on it to see how it was built, not to know how I could die in it.
    4/ 10

  5. TheTruthPersists

    This documentary is okay if you listen to it in the background, while working...

    Why is Discovery always so obsessed with the cost and the disasters? Just sad.

  6. Edward Richtofen

    The TruthPersists said it best.

  7. Zamir Mustafai

    If they do it right, then it's the Swiss

  8. Vicki_in_Greece

    Well, yeah! They have more capital (money) to work with than any other place in the world. Always wonderful to see it used for projects good for everyone.

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