In November, thanks to the support of Porr Technobau und Umwelt AG, an excursion of the research department Foundation Engineering, Soil and Rock Mechanics of the Institute of Geotechnical Engineering to current construction projects in Albania took place.
The first visit to the construction site took us to the port of Durres. The Keller company is currently carrying out soil improvements there by means of vibratory tamping compaction for new port buildings.
After the first overnight stay in Shkodra, we went to the actual focus of the excursion on Thursday morning: the construction sites of the Ashta run-of-river power plants.
The Austrian construction group Porr has been commissioned by the Albanian Verbund subsidiary Energji Ashta to build the power plants on the Drin River in northwestern Albania.
Porr Technobau und Umwelt AG is responsible for the entire construction work. Construction started in January 2010 and the power plant is scheduled to go into operation in 2012. In the future, the Ashta power plants will supply 100,000 Albanian households with electricity every year. The Ashta hydroelectric power plants form the last stage in a series of three existing power plants and use the head between the Spättara reservoir, which is fed by the Drin River, and the confluence of the Drin and Buna rivers. The Ashta power plant project consists of two power plants – Ashta 1 and Ashta 2.
The focus of the site visit was, on the one hand, on the inspection of the complex excavation pit of the Ashta I power plant and, on the other hand, on the earthworks for the two power plant projects, including the power plant canal between Ashta I and Ashta II. The complex geological and hydrogeological situation requires, in particular, special measures to protect against groundwater and the strongly fluctuating river water level of the Drin. A wide range of special foundation engineering measures, such as (sealing) diaphragm walls, large bored piles, small bored piles, narrow walls, excavation pit anchors, anchored underwater concrete bases, etc., are used under the notoriously difficult boundary conditions of construction abroad.
Excavation pit Ashta I power plant
Excavation pit Ashta II power plant
At the end of the interesting day on the construction site, the Porr company invited us to a traditional Albanian dinner, which gave us culinary and musical insights into Albanian culture.
The time before the return flight to Vienna on Friday was all about the culture and history of Albania. Our tour guide gave us a deep insight into these. We visited the cathedral of Shkodra and then the Rosafat Castle. The end of our trip was a bus tour through the city center of Tirana before we took the plane back to Austria.