India’s L&T secures order for Uttarakhand rail line
The construction arm of Larsen & Toubro has secured a large order for its Heavy Civil Infrastructure business from Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) for Package Four of the New Broad-Gauge Line between the cities of Rishikesh and Karanprayag in the state of Uttarakhand, India.
In a statement, L&T says that the scope of the project includes the construction of Tunnels, Formation, Construction Shaft, and other Ancillary Works from Chainage 47+360 to 63+117kms between Rishikesh and Karanprayag.
"Establishing a rail link between Rishikesh and Karanprayag will not only facilitate easy access to Uttarakhand’s pilgrimage sites, but also enable development of backward areas, connect new trade centres, and serve the resident population. The railway line traverses rugged Himalayan terrains, with the alignment oriented across and sometimes sub parallel to major thrust zones in the Himalayas with complex geological conditions," said S.V. Desai, Whole Time Director & Senior Executive Vice President (Civil Infrastructure).
The project involves the construction of 14.577-kms upline and 13.123 kms downline tunnel, with embankments of approximately 800 metres at both ends.
Out of 14.577kms and 13.123kms of tunnel, 10.49kms and 10.317kms will be excavated using two new hard rock Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) of 9.1 metres diameter. The balance will use the New Austrian Tunnel Method (NATM), the company adds.
The scope of work includes the construction of an Ellipsoidal cum Ventilation Shaft in the finished cross-section of 79sqm, and at a depth 32 metres. This will be the biggest TBM to be deployed in the Himalayan region of India, while the TBM bored tunnel length of 20.80kms will be the longest for any project in the Himalayan region.
The company says that the entire project is expected to be completed within a stringent timeline of 60 months. It adds that it is already constructing Package Two of the prestige project, which involves 24 kilometres of tunnelling by the NATM, as well as minor bridges and formation works.
The 125-kms Broad Gauge New Rail link between Rishikesh and Karanprayag will reduce the current 12–15-hour road journey to just a few short hours. It will include the construction of 12 stations, 17 tunnels, including 15.10kms of the longest tunnel, as well as 16 major bridges – including one that is 65 metres high.
The new line is located in the Ganges valley, in Uttarakhand, which is visited every year by masses of Hindu pilgrims. It will facilitate the transfer and movement of pilgrims and tourists to the religious sites of Badrinath and Kedarnath, which is where the sources of the sacred river are located.
Last November, the construction arm of Larsen & Toubro secured a major contract from the National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) to construct 87.569kms of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail (MAHSR) project, popularly referred as the Bullet Train project.
CCECC completes work on longest tunnel in the Middle East
Excavation work on the longest tunnel in the Middle East has been completed, the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) has announced. Part of the Etihad Rail Project, the 1.8km long tunnel from Dubai to Fujairah in the Hajar Mountains.
CCECC completed the work for Section D of the second stage of the project using blasts to excavate its path, although softer explosions were used due to the terrain. The project was completed in partnership with the Abu Dhabi contractor, National Projects and Construction.
What is the Etihad Rail project?
First awarded to CCECC in December 2019 as part of a US$1.2bn contract, the Etihad Rail Project is a 145km transport route that links Sharjah, Fujairah, and Dubai includes the construction of 15 tunnels through the Hajar Mountains totalling 16km, 35 bridges, and 32 underpasses.
It is being built in three stages, the first of which became operational in 2016. The second stage is being completed in “packages” labelled A, B, C, and D with the latter being the latest to be finished.
The packages were integrated as part of a contract to both the CCECC and SK Engineering and Construction, a South Korean company, both of which oversee the design and build of the project.
More than 600km of railway was laid across all four packages of phase two of the project. Speaking in 2019, Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of Etihad Rail, Abu Dhabi Executive Council member, and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, said: “The contract is the latest milestone as "Etihad Rail follows its path to progressing one of the most important and economically strategic projects in the UAE."
Once the rail tunnel is fully operational, Etihad Rail trains aim to carry up to 30mn tonnes of construction material per year to distribution centres in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This will cut transport costs and reducing truck trips by more than 2,000 journeys a day.