Excavation completed on 'Friendship Tunnel'

21 May 2020

China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group (CREC-2) has completed excavation of the 10km Friendship Tunnel after 37 months of work. Designed by China Railway Eryuan Engineering, the tunnel forms part of the China-Laos Railway – a strategic component of China’s Belt and Road initiative. Located around 370km north of the Laotian capital Vientiane, the tunnel spans the border between the two countries, with 2.5km on the Laos side from which the tunnel was driven.

With a maximum overburden of 240m, the TBM-bored tunnel has passed through difficult geology, including a band of salt 100m deep and frequent inflows of water. To ensure construction continued through the Coronavirus emergency, contractors and engineers implemented measures to ensure the safety of the workforce.

Construction of the 414km-long railway began in 2016 and is expected to be completed by December 2021. With a total 198km of tunnels and 62km of bridges, the railway will form a lifeline to landlocked Laos – one of the world’s last remaining communist states.