Chinese company builds longest railway tunnel in North Africa

Sang Yarong China Plus Published: 2017-10-31 15:48:17
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Construction workers cheer at the completion of the Gantas Tunnel on October 30, 2017. [Photo: thepaper.cn]

Construction workers cheer at the completion of the Gantas Tunnel on October 30, 2017. [Photo: thepaper.cn]

The longest railway tunnel in North Africa, the Gantas Tunnel, was officially punched through on October 30, reports thepaper.cn.

The China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) is the Chinese company behind the 14.68-kilometer long tunnel, which is a key project along a trunk railway in north Algeria.

The Gantas Tunnel in northern Algeria under construction [Photo: thepaper.cn]

The Gantas Tunnel in northern Algeria under construction [Photo: thepaper.cn]

The construction of the tunnel started in April 2011, but was suspended at one point due to complicated geological conditions.

The geological composition of the mountains in Algeria was the major barrier in building the tunnel, which was called "a disaster to geological engineers" by French engineers who supervised the construction design.

Companies from multiple countries including Japan, Italy and Turkey all failed to solve similar problems in projects in Algeria.

CRCC was eventually able to make a technological breakthrough and complete the tunnel after six-and-a-half years.

The Gantas Tunnel in northern Algeria under construction [Photo: thepaper.cn]

The Gantas Tunnel in northern Algeria under construction [Photo: thepaper.cn]

The railway tunnel will shorten the travel time between Oran and Algiers, Algeria's capital, from 4 to 2 hours.

It will also make it more convenient to travel from Algeria to Morocco by train.

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