The tunnel boring machine (TBM) in the middle drift in the exit section of the Tianshan Shengli Tunnel achieved an advance of 11,028 meters on Friday, marking major progress made during the construction of the exit section of the tunnel in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which is the longest highway tunnel currently under construction in the world.
The exit section of the tunnel has a total length of 11.05 kilometers, which adopts the construction scheme of three drifts and four shafts. The middle drift adopts TBM construction to create working platform for tunneling, which is faster than traditional drilling.
As a crucial section of the Urumqi-Yuli Highway, the Tianshan Shengli Tunnel, with a total length of 22.13 kilometers, will traverse the Tianshan Mountains and open a new pathway to southern Xinjiang.
The tunnel is expected to cut travel time through the Tianshan Mountains to about 20 minutes, and the journey from Urumqi to Korla will be shortened from more than seven hours to about three hours.