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China announces completion of last tunnel of strategic Sichuan–Tibet railway

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(TibetanReview.net, Jul09’23) – China has announced the completion of a previously seriously hobbled construction of a railway tunnel for its strategic Sichuan–Tibet (or Sichuan–Xizang, or Chuanzang) Railway which will connect Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, and Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, when fully completed.

The Haba Snow Mountain Tunnel, a section of the railway, was completed on Saturday (Jul 8) after a nine-year period of construction, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn Jul 8, citing Xinhua news agency.

The 9.5-kilometre long is one of 20 planned for the railway, the report said.

Following its completion, the workers will embark on track-laying, with plans to launch the railway for official operation within the year, the report added.

The report said the China Railway Group Co had pledged to continue serving and guaranteeing the implementation of major national strategies, injecting vitality into high-quality economic and social development, and accelerate the construction of modern railway infrastructure around the nation.

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It was previously reported by the scmp.com Jul 29, 2022 that in less than a month, the tunnel in the Deqen (Tibetan: Dechen) Tibetan autonomous prefecture had been reduced from a diameter of 12 metres to less than 3 metres, barely enough for a car to pass through, as a result of shifting tectonic plates. It added that engineers working on the project were looking for solutions to the unprecedented challenge.

The report cited the construction team as saying some completed sections of the tunnel had been hit by a crushing force caused by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates.

Instrument readings were stated to suggest that the rocks around the tunnel had come under pressure as great as 30 megapascals, equal to the combined weight of 75 elephants standing on a single foot.

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