Construction Progress in Main Civil Works - Tunnel
The excavation of underground works till November 2019 (before lockdown in China) was just about 25% by length. Till February 2020, (before lockdown in Nepal) almost 45% by length of tunnel works had been excavated. Therefore, the progress in tunnel works was quite satisfactory till March 2020.
However, due to the nationwide lockdown imposed by the Nepal Government from March 24, 2020, explosives required for tunnel excavation could not be imported from India and transported from the Birgunj Customs to the Project site. The excavation works were halted for almost 25 days. As a consequence, the progress in tunnel excavation was severely affected. This will potentially cause delay in meeting the required commercial operation of the Project.
However, as soon as the explosive was transported to the site, a significant excavation was carried out. By October end, about 65% by length of the tunnel has been excavated along with necessary supports works. The progress by volume is about 48% which is relatively lower than progress achieved by length. This is due to the excavation of the Settling Basins with much large cross section (i.e. 150 m x 13.5 m x 17.5 m).Out of total 6634 m, about 4280 m length of the tunnel network has been excavated till date.
To avoid spread of COVID-19, the Contractor has decided to reduce the crowd at site and sent his Chinese tunnel workers to China for vaccination. Therefore, the excavation work at settling basin sites has been postponed until the arrival of the vaccinated workers and remaining limited resources have been relocated to the headrace tunnel (HRT) section. Considering the uncertainty of the Chinese workers’ return, the Employer help the Main Civil Contractor to find and negotiate subcontract with a Nepali contractor for the HRT excavation. The subcontract between the Main Civil Contractor and the Nepali Contractor has been signed and the Subcontractor has been doing the excavation at the HRT.