The high speed rail tunnel set to connect Poland’s new airport in Warsaw to the city of Łódź has taken another step forward with the signing of the second construction contract. 

CPK, the company responsible for the ambitious airport project, signed a 147m zlotys ($37m) contract with Polish contractor Budimex for the construction of chambers for the tunnel boring machine. 

This contract follows on from the work to strengthen foundations at the Łódź Cultural Centre which sits above the proposed route for the project, with Budimex now set to build a receiving chamber near the centre as well as at the launch point in Retkinia. 

Radosław Kantak, member of the CPK management board for railway investments, said: “CPK is not only about the planned airport, but also about the much-needed new railway lines in Poland.  

“About 450 km of lines are already in an advanced design stage, including the railway sections between Warsaw and Łódź as well as Łódź and Wrocław. Today we are going one step further and signing a contract for the construction work.” 

Movement towards the beginning of construction on the 4km tunnel, part of a 140km long high-speed rail line, is especially significant after Poland’s new government said it would re-examine plans for the airport project, though CPK had said that plans were too far advanced to be stopped. 

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Construction of the machine chambers is expected to take 10 months for the Retkinia chamber and 13 months for the Fabryczna chamb

The contract came only weeks after Poland’s new government took its seat. The announcement did not shy away from the political differences between the former administration and that of Prime Minister Donald Tusk, formerly a key figure for the European Union in Brexit negotiations.

Polish Deputy Minister of Funds and Regional Policy Marcin Horala, the government plenipotentiary for CPK, said: “Our predecessors made the fateful decision in 2011 where the preparations for the construction of a high-speed line connecting Warsaw, Łódź and Sieradz with Wrocław and Poznań were suspended. 

“No one can give this time back to the residents. That is why it is only today – thanks to the CPK investments – that the construction of the Y-shaped railway route can begin.” 

Earlier this year, the high speed rail project was given another boost after the European Commission awarded it 290m zlotys in funding towards construction planning.