Water pipeline for the top of the Gaisberg mountain Slider

Water pipeline for the top of the Gaisberg mountain


December 21, 2022 | Markus Lackner

Construction work has been on going since July to build a water pipeline to the Gaisberg, Salzburg's local mountain. The 2.5 million euro project is scheduled for completion in June of next year. The construction work for this is being carried out by the civil engineering department of the Felbermayr branch in Spittal an der Drau.

Around 1.3 million recreation-seekers make the annual pilgrimage to the 1300 metre high Gaisberg. The water supply at the "Gaisberg Spitz" [top of the Gaisberg mountain] has so far been ensured by truck transport. Felbermayr branch manager Ferdinand Wirnsberger knows that this should change with the completion of the water pipeline: "To do this, we dock onto the existing water pipeline that we have already constructed. This already leads from the elevated tank at Elsbethen over about 4.5 kilometres to the "Mitteregg" inn. Now another four kilometres or so are being added.

Special machinery for rough terrain

"The construction work is extremely demanding," says Wirnsberger, referring to the rock immediately below a thin layer of humus: "Rock cutters are used to cut the Dachstein limestone with dolomitic intercalations to the required depth of about 1.7 metres." But it is not only the material that is demanding, slopes of up to about 20 percent also make the work difficult. In order to master these passages, walking excavators secured by winches were used. "This unit has four walking legs with wheels attached to the undercarriage. These can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically and in length to suit the slope," says Wirnsberger, explaining the special feature of this device. But despite the possibilities, one has to accept a low daily output in this difficult terrain. For example, only about ten to 20 metres per day are possible with such rock.

The existing power grid will also be expanded within the course of the construction work. We are laying a total of about 15,000 metres of cable and 6000 metres of pipes in order to be able to open up Gaisberg Spitz with data lines," Wirnsberger explains.

In addition, the scope of services also includes the construction of pumping stations and the relocation of stainless steel tanks as water reservoirs. This includes all earthworks, the construction of reinforced ground slabs and the construction of stone fillings. Three drinking fountains for hikers will also be built.

Priority for environmental protection

Great care is also taken to meet environmental protection requirements during the construction work. For example, after the pipes have been laid, the removed humus is reapplied to the removed area as far as possible. And the route width is also kept as small as possible by using the rock cutters. Biotopes are avoided as far as possible.

​​​​​​​Provided the weather is favourable, the work will continue until mid-December. "Then we will take a winter break and start again early in the spring to be able to complete the work by the end of June as planned," says Wirnsberger confidently.