Etihad Rail from Dubai to Fujairah: excavation work on longest tunnel complete

Blasts were used to make the 1.8km tunnel in the Hajar Mountains

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Excavation work on the longest tunnel of the Etihad Rail project has been completed, said China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

The company, a subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation, completed tunnelling work on the 1.8 kilometre T1 tunnel in the Hajar mountains for section D of stage 2 of the project.

Softer blasts were used to make the tunnel because of the terrain, International Railway Journal reported.

In December 2019, Etihad Rail awarded a Dh4.6bn contract to the Chinese joint venture to work on the 145km link alongside the borders of Sharjah, Fujairah and Dubai, which includes building 15 tunnels through the Hajar Mountains with a total length of 16km as well as the construction of 35 bridges and 32 underpasses.

The Etihad Rail is being built in three phases.

It was established in 2009 and the first phase, a 264km stretch between Al Ruwais and the Shah and Habshan gasfield in Abu Dhabi, became operational in 2016.

Each day, two trains run across the country, capable of transporting up to 22,000 tonnes of sulphur, and each train can take up to 110 wagons.

When complete, the railway network will link the main population and industrial centres in the UAE and will form a vital part of a planned network across the region.

In stage two of the project, more than 600km of track will be laid down from Ghuweifat, on the border with Saudi Arabia, to Fujairah on the east coast.

The contracts for stage two of the project were awarded in the form of packages A, B, C and D to SK Engineering and Construction, a South Korean company, and China State Construction Engineering Corporation, for civil engineering, track works, designing and building the project.

Tracklaying for two packages of Phase 2 of the Etihad Rail project is under way.

Updated: July 25, 2021, 1:41 PM