The project consists of two single track tunnels. It is part of the AlpTransit project, also known as the New Railway Link through the Alps (NRLA), which also includes the Lötschberg Base Tunnel between the cantons of Bern and Valais. It bypasses the 19th century Gotthardbahn, a winding mountain route across the Saint-Gotthard Massif, and establishes a direct route usable by high-speed rail and heavy freight trains.
After 64 percent of Swiss voters accepted the AlpTransit project in a 1992 referendum, construction of the tunnel began in 1996. Boring operations in the eastern tunnel were completed on 15 October 2010 in a cut-through ceremony broadcast live on Swiss TV. When it opens for traffic in late 2017, the tunnel will cut the 3.5-hour travel time from Zürich to Milan by an hour and from Zürich to Lugano to 1 hour 40 minutes.
The two portals are near the villages of Erstfeld, Uri and Bodio, Ticino. Nearby are two other St. Gotthard Tunnels: the 1881 Gotthard Rail Tunnel and the 1980 Gotthard Road Tunnel.
Read more on AlpTransit and Wikipedia Gotthard Base Tunnel.
Mortgage rates declined in the latest week, with the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages landing at 4.95%, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly survey.
Rates slumped through most of last year as yields on Treasury debt declined amid economic uncertainty. But yields have been on the rise recently, pushing mortgage rates back up earlier this month to the highest level since last April. The rates track the yields, which move inversely to Treasury prices.
Freddie Chief Economist Frank Nothaft noted the latest week’s easing of rates came amid mixed economic reports. A measure of inflation for January rose slightly more than expected and house prices fell 4.1% in the fourth quarter.
The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.95% for the week ended Thursday, down from the prior week’s 5% and 5.05% a year earlier.
Rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were 4.22%, below last week’s 4.27% and the year-earlier average of 4.4%.
Five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 3.8%, down from the prior week’s 3.87% and the prior-year’s 4.16%. One-year Treasury-indexed ARMs were 3.4%, compared with 3.39% and 4.15%, respectively.
Read the full article over at Wall Street Journal.