The utility tunnel designed for the Yanqing competition area of the 2022 Winter Olympics was completed Monday. At the construction site located at the southern foothill of Xiaohaituo Mountain, two groups of tunneling workers joined hands in a tunnel that was 750 meters above sea level.
The inner space of the tunnel was like a huge underground palace, with both the width and height of 8.5 meters and an overall cross-section shaped like a gate. "This is the 'lifeline' of the Yanqing competition area of the upcoming Winter Olympic Games, and this is also the first time in China to build a utility tunnel in a mountain!" said a person in charge from the Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office. As a basic guarantee project for the Yanqing competition area, the utility tunnel would provide access channels for snow-making water, domestic water, renewable water, electric power, telecommunications, cable television, and other facilities in the competition area. It can also provide infrastructure support for ice and snow sports for the public in the venues after the Winter Olympic Games.
The utility tunnel runs 7.9 kilometers in total, starting from the Foyukou Reservoir in the south and running northwards to the core of the Yanqing competition area. Extended from south to north, the tunnel's entrance section is 550 meters above sea level, and its exit section is 1,100 meters above sea level. The average slopes of the two sections are 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively, and the maximum slope is 15 percent. The tunnel has an astonishing vertical elevation of 550 meters, and load-bearing vehicles must be fitted with anti-skid tires. The geological conditions of Yanshan Mountains where the construction is being carried out are extremely complicated, and engineers are faced with surrounding rocks of mixed densities. Under such circumstance, workers from the China Railway Construction Corporation Limited worked for 15 months to finally complete the tunnel.
Han Baojiang, deputy general manager of Beijing Investment and Utility Tunnel Company, said that in addition to traditional drilling and blasting methods, the construction of this tunnel also involved many new construction techniques, such as the full section hard rock tunnel boring machines, and therefore created a precedent in the construction of the mountain tunnel within a large slope.
At present, the newly completed utility tunnel is still quite empty. In the future, it will be divided into various functional silos: The upper bunker will be an electric power bunker and a telecommunications bunker; the lower silo will be a water bunker, including snow making water, domestic water, reclaimed water; and special vehicle passageways will be installed on the ground. According to the plan, the pipelines will be laid in April, while water and power supply will be ready by September, which are both ahead of the completion of the venue construction.
The core area of the Yanqing competition area for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games is located at the southern foothill of Xiaohaituo Mountain, and the National Alpine Ski Center and the National Luge Sled Center will be newly built, as well two non-competition venues, namely the Yanqing Winter Olympic Village and the Mountain News Center. According to the person in charge from the Beijing Major Projects Construction Headquarters Office, a total of 31 projects are included in the supporting infrastructure construction plan for the Winter Olympics, of which 25 projects were launched by 2018. Among them, the Xingyan Expressway project, the Songyan Road (changed section) project, and the 500kV main transformer capacity increase project in Changping were all completed in 2018.
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