Strong partners ensure success

Clouds Clouds Clouds

07 March 2017

For over 80 years Ulrich Imboden AG has relished the challenge of the extreme and the company has evolved to become leading specialists in mountain and underground construction work. A large number of renowned projects testify to the high quality of their work, including the Trockener Steg – Klein Matterhorn aerial cableway, the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise restaurant and lodge, the Metro Alpin underground railway and the Lötschberg Base Tunnel. The Visp-based alpine construction specialists were duly given the go-ahead to work on the first section of the world’s highest 3S cableway. In commissioning Ulrich Imboden AG, Zermatt Bergbahnen has teamed up with a strong and reliable partner. 

Construction of the Zermatt 3S cableway officially began in the spring of 2016, but a good deal of preparatory work had already been completed the previous autumn – for example, Imboden had transported construction machinery up to Trockener Steg and deposited ballast ready for the production of concrete. A few months later Imboden installed and certified its new concrete batching plant on Trockener Steg. Since then Trockener Steg has been a hive of construction activity. Ulrich Imboden AG was commissioned to carry out the work on the valley station and towers 1 and 2; the mountain station and tower 3 will be built under their supervision within a consortium involving the Italian-based company Cogeis S.p.a. The special reason for this collaboration is that Cogeis S.p.a is the operator of the materials cableway that brings the construction materials for the mountain station and the last tower before the point of entry from Italy (see our blog from 3 March 2016). 

First summer of construction runs to schedule
Ulrich Imboden AG successfully completed some essential preparatory work during the summer of 2016. Tower 1 was already up by the end of August, following substantial concreting work, and the construction of the valley station started in mid-October. Meanwhile the work on towers 2 and 3 is not finished yet as these need to be specially anchored into the rock bed. At the fourth tower problems were encountered reaching solid rock in which to fix the anchoring rods, with the excavations finally extending down to a depth of 21 metres. Around 150 m3 of concrete will be poured here this year, and various groundwork tasks need to be carried out. Three of the foundations for tower 3 are currently under construction with the fourth due to be tackled in the spring of 2017. Excavation work at the mountain station was completed in August and concreting started. Despite the difficult weather conditions in September 2016 (a metre of snow and temperatures down to -12 degrees Celsius) and heavy storms in November, the floor slab and the first stage of the basement walls have been concreted. This year will see the completion of the ceiling and the walls above the basement level as well as the two uprights.