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Tunnel Boring Machine’s Digging Progress Ahead of Schedule

Tunnel Boring Machine

The digging progress of 12 km long tunnel of the Bheri Babai Diversion Multipurpose Project has reached 20% within three and a half months. The project is using a Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) for the first time in Nepal.

Why it matters:

The tunnel will be completed before its completion deadline of March 2020, if it maintains its current momentum.

What they are saying:

  • “Currently, the TBM is digging 15 to 25 meter of tunnel daily,” said Shiva Kumar Basnet, the government appointed project chief of the multipurpose project. “Although it will be too early to announce the completion date of the tunnel, we are hopeful that it will be completed within one and half years.”
  • “We will soon complete reviewing the design and approve it before calling the global tender to appoint a contractor,” said Basnet. “Our plan is to start the construction of hydropower project once we complete digging half of the tunnel.”
  • The project officials said the TBM had completed digging a 2.3 km tunnel by Thursday and that the operation was going on smoothly without any major glitches.

The Details:

  • The TBM has a 5-meter diameter and is 250 meters long.
  • China Overseas Engineering Group, the government appointed contractor for the construction of the project is deploying workforce of around 80 Chinese and 600 Nepali who are working daily to operate the machine.

The Backstory:

  • The government had invited bids for the construction of the project in July 2012, but lack of resources and delays in the appointment of a contractor prevented the project from starting at the time.
  • The construction of the project was finally inaugurated in April 2015 by the then prime minister, the late Sushil Koirala.

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