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China-Laos railway drills through last major tunnel

Updated: Sep 23,2020 17:17    Xinhua

A Chinese railway engineering company on Sept 22 drilled through the Ban Phoukeu Tunnel, the last major long tunnel of nearly 9,000 meters along the China-Laos Railway. It marked an important milestone in the construction of the cross-border railway, and laid a solid foundation for the timely completion of the mega project. The Ban Phoukeu Tunnel, with a length of 8,936 meters, is among the 10 major tunnels longer than 5 km along the China-Laos Railway. It is also the fourth longest tunnel with high construction risks, and a bottleneck project along the railway. The tunnel in Muang Nga of Oudomxay province, some 400 km north of the Lao capital Vientiane, is located on the geological suture zone. The tunnel crosses seven faults, with extremely complicated geological conditions, which brings difficulties and high risks in construction. The China-Laos Railway is a strategic docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub. The project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and operational in December 2021.