ECRL hits new milestone with the completion of three tunnel excavations in Bentong district

KUALA LUMPUR: The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project has garnered a new milestone by achieving three tunnel breakthroughs in a single day within the Bentong district.

This brings the total number of tunnels that have completed excavation works along its rail alignment to 30, marking a notable progress in the project.

According to ECRL, its three tunnels, namely ‘Bentong 1 Tunnel’ with a total length of 561 metres (m), ‘Kampung Lentang 1 Tunnel’ (270 m), and ‘Kampung Lentang 2 Tunnel’ (478 m), recorded their breakthrough achievements ahead of schedule via the “drill and blast” tunnelling method yesterday. 

It said the permanent lining for ‘Bentong 1 Tunnel’ has progressed to a commendable 348m prior to breakthrough, while preparation of trolley lining for permanent lining construction is underway for ‘Kampung Lentang 1 Tunnel’ and ‘Kampung Lentang 2 Tunnel’. 

Each tunnel has an average height of 12m and width of 13m, hence providing the space for two standard gauge railway tracks upon completion, ECRL noted. 

Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) chief executive officer Datuk Darwis Abdul Razak said the achievement was supported by the adoption of advanced tunnelling technology as well as the dedication and teamwork among its ECRL personnel along its 665 kilometres (km) alignment. 

“We are optimistic that the construction of the ECRL alignment from Kota Bharu to ITT Gombak will be completed by December 2026. 

“This is considering tunnel excavation works, which are both challenging and contingent on geological conditions, have progressed smoothly and as per schedule,” he said in conjunction with the latest tunnel breakthrough achievements in the Bentong district. 

On the ECRL project’s progress, Darwis said it had achieved an overall progress of 62.40 per cent as of February 2024, underpinned by rapid infrastructure works that included tunnel excavation, beam launching, track laying, and station construction.  

He added that the project is backed by some 23,000 workers at about 1,900 work sites across the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, and Selangor. 

The construction of ECRL tunnels in the Bentong district is expected to enable the railway track to comply with its maximum gradient of 0.9 per cent, as well as significantly reduce open forest cutting and minimise the impact on wildlife in the area. 

The ECRL project features the construction of 41 tunnels with a total length of approximately 69 km along its rail alignment.  

Section A (Kota Bharu-Dungun) and Section B (Dungun-Mentakab) contain 21 tunnels, with the remaining 20 tunnels situated in Section C (Mentakab-Port Klang). 

Of the 41 tunnels along the ECRL alignment, all 21 tunnels in Section A and Section B have completed their excavation works since August 2023, while nine tunnels in Section C have also followed suit to date.  

For the record, the ECRL project registered its first tunnel breakthrough at the 1.1-km long Paka Tunnel in Terengganu back in April 2021.


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