Chinese tunnelling contractor claims new record on Georgia highway tunnel drive

The Caucasus TBM has bored the 8,860m-long Gudauri Tunnel for the KK Highway in Georgia The Caucasus TBM has bored the 8,860m-long Gudauri Tunnel for the KK Highway in Georgia (Image: China Railway Tunnel Group)

China Railway Tunnel Group has claimed what it said was a new record tunnel boring machine tunnelling (TBM) during the construction of a tunnel on a major new highway in Georgia.

The company said that it had achieved a maximum monthly advance of 426 metres on the Gudauri Tunnel on Georgia’s North-South KK Highway.

That was a record in large-diameter TBM tunnel construction, surpassing the previously recognized industry maximum of 320 metres per month, it claimed.

It used the Caucasus TBM for the project, which is 182 metres in length and weighs 3,900 tons. It has a maximum thrust of 22.600 tones and total power of 9,900 kilowatts. The company claimed that with an excavation diameter of 15.08 metres, it is one of the largest of its kind.

The two-way, dual carriageway KK Highway is 22.7km long and the 10km lot 1 section, which includes the 8,860m-long Gudauri Tunnel, is being built by China Railway Tunnel Group.

China Railway Tunnel Group said it had bored the tunnel ahead of schedule. Once complete, the new highway is expected to cut travel time along the stretch from one hour to 20 minutes.

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