ECRL completes 871m tunnel breakthrough in Dungun Terengganu

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) has achieved a major milestone with a tunnel breakthrough of 871 meters single-bore Terowong Dungun in Terengganu for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project.

Having completed six months ahead of schedule, the final blast at Terowong Dungun on May 29, 2021 broke through the last barrier some 12 meters from the tunnel’s entrance portal.

The achievement at Terowong Dungun was a culmination of about 641,520 man-hours and the adoption of the drill-and-blast method of tunnelling that bored through the moderately weathered schist rock.

Chairman Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali said the dedication and teamwork of some 100 ECRL personnel at all levels had paved the way for the tunnelling works and breakthrough at Terowong Dungun to be ahead of schedule.

“The overall infrastructure works for the tunnel is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2022,” he said in a statement today.

Mohd Zuki said the tunnelling works which excavated some 98,111 cubic meters of soil and rock had been completed safely and with minimal ground movement, supported by the ECRL team including engineers, planners, and construction workers at Terowong Dungun.


“Terowong Dungun is expected to be completed months ahead of schedule barring any unforeseen circumstances,” he added.

A wholly-owned subsidiary of the Minister of Finance Incorporated, MRL is the project and asset owner of the ECRL.

MRL said tunnel excavation works for Terowong Dungun had progressed to 97.4 per cent prior to the breakthrough, while its permanent lining had rose to a decent length of 702 meters.

With a tunnel height of 11.8 meter and width of 12.9 meter, Terowong Dungun was constructed to avoid major open cutting and to preserve forest reserve when travelling across the Kuala Dungun area.

The tunnel breakthrough at Terowong Dungun had taken place less than two months from the inaugural ECRL tunnel breakthrough at the 1.1-km Terowong Paka on April 9, 2021.

Terengganu will also feature five ECRL tunnels upon the completion of the project, said MRL.

Mohd Zuki said the ECRL project has 58 tunnels encompassing different lengths and landscape to be constructed along various sections of its 665-km rail alignment,

He expected strong collaboration and knowledge sharing between MRL and China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd to smoothen tunnel excavation and completing as per schedule or even earlier.

“We are pleased that the ECRL project is still progressing slightly ahead of schedule at 22.62 per cent as at May 2021 despite the Covid-19 pandemic which effectively reduces work hours and manpower at project sites,” he added.

Scheduled for completion by December 2026, the 665km ECRL will traverse the East Coast states of Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang before linking the Klang Valley on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

The ECRL will significantly cut travel time and connect Kota Bharu with ITT Gombak in about four hours.

ECRL project’s engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning (EPCC) contractor, CCC-ECRL managing director Bai Yinzhan is confident the project team would adjust well to work under the strict enforcement of standard operating procedures and make advance progress while keeping the work sites safe.

“Our team had made tremendous efforts to coordinate with our local contractors and Bumiputra project partners to ensure resources such as manpower, materials, and machines are available where we need them. We are grateful for the support and understanding given by our subcontractors.

“Special thanks also go to our team in Section Four for achieving two remarkable milestones within the short span of two months,” added Bai.

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