The Lötschberg Base Tunnel is a half-completed 34.57-kilometre railway base tunnel on the BLS AG's Lötschberg line cutting through the Bernese Alps of Switzerland some 400 m below the existing Lötschberg Tunnel. It runs between Frutigen, Berne, and Raron, Valais. Breakthrough was in April 2005 and construction ended in 2006. The opening ceremony was in June 2007. Full scale operation began in December 2007. It was built as one of the two centerpieces of the NRLA project.
Built to ease lorry traffic on Swiss roads, the LBT allows an increased number of lorries and trailers to be loaded onto trains in Germany, pass through Switzerland on rail and be unloaded in Italy. It also cuts down travel time for German tourists going to Swiss ski resorts and puts the Valais into commuting distance to Bern by reducing travel time by 50%. The total cost was SFr 4.3 billion . This and the Gotthard Base Tunnel are the two centerpieces of the Swiss NRLA project.
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