MARAN: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project has reached another milestone with the successful excavation of all tunnels from Kelantan to Mentakab, Pahang.
Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, who is the Malaysia Rail Link (MRL) chairman, said the breakthrough of the Kampung Gedung Siam 3 tunnel here marked the completion of tunnelling works along the Section A (Kota Baru-Dungun) and Section B (Dungun-Mentakab) alignments.
"I am happy to announce that the 1,328m-long Kampung Gedung Siam 3 tunnel has been successfully broken through according to schedule using the drill-and-blast method.
"With an average height of 13.47m and a width of 13.02m, the tunnel will enable the operation of two standard gauge railway tracks later, " said Mohd Zuki at the celebration of the successful tunnelling here on Friday (Aug 25).
He said the tunnel needed to be built to enable the ECRL railway track to comply with its maximum gradient of 0.74% as well as to avoid major open forest felling in the village area.
"With the effort and close cooperation of the ECRL team under the management of Maran Basecamp, I understand that the infrastructure works of Kampung Gedung Siam 3 tunnel are expected to be fully ready by April 2024," he said.
Out of the 25 ECRL tunnels that had achieved tunnelling breakthrough to date, Mohd Zuki said 21 were located in Sections A and B, proving MRL and China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCC-ECRL)'s capability in overcoming engineering challenges and making use of modern and efficient tunnelling technology.
He said with the success in Section B, MRL was confident tunnelling works in Section C, from Mentakab to Port Klang, would also proceed smoothly and according to schedule.
Of the 19 tunnels in Section C, the excavation of four tunnels including the 793m-long Kampung Temiang 1 tunnel, had achieved breakthrough this year, he said.
Mohd Zuki added that the excavation of the 16.39km-long Genting twin tunnel using two tunnel boring machines from China was proceeding per schedule and was expected to reach breakthrough by the second quarter of 2025.
He also said the ECRL project was pleased with the completion of critical works involving the installation of long-span bridges of 108m each at five locations in Sections A and B, adding that the installation of ECRL tracks would be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2023, beginning with the 90km rail alignment from Gebeng to Dungun.
Also present at the event were Land Public Transport Agency director-general Datuk Azlan Shah Al Bakri, MRL chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak and CCC-ECRL managing director Kong Qi.
Kong said the tunnel breakthrough marked another significant milestone in their quest to construct the 40-tunnel ECRL.
"It is a testament to our team's dedication and expertise, pushing the boundaries of construction technology.
"While we forge connections that bridge communities and propel progress, we thank MRL, our vendors, subcontractors, local government agencies, local communities and our teams along the alignment for their contribution and support," said Kong.