Drilling work at second Baikal tunnel now 95% complete
The construction of the second Baikal tunnel - the most important object on the Baikal-Amur Main Line and Trans-Siberian modernisation programme - is nearing completion.
According to the latest data, construction workers have already drilled 6,372 metres of the tunnel’s total length of 6,682m. Drilling and excavation at the second Baikal tunnel is proceeding at an average daily rate of 12m. The LOVAT tunnel-boring equipment has almost reached the eastern portal. The tunnel’s breakthrough is expected to occur by the end of the first quarter of 2018.
In November 2017, the drilling of the eastern and western drainage shafts was completed by rock tunnelling. Their lengths are 1,747m and 1,500m respectively.
The construction of the second Baikal tunnel began in 2014. About 1,500 people and more than 100 units of mining equipment, road construction machinery and vehicles are employed in the work.
According to the schedule, the deadline for commissioning the facility is 2019.
The new Baikal tunnel will significantly increase the throughput capacity on the Severobaikalsk-Lena stretch.
The current one-way Baikal tunnel is one of the narrowest bottlenecks on East Siberian Railways. The through capacity of the Daban-Delbichind station-to-station block is now almost fully exploited, and any further increase in the capacity of the stretch is impossible without double tracks for trains runnng through the Baikal Range and the double-track development of adjacent and nearby station-to-station blocks.