This paper describes in detail the controlled blasting adopted and the measurements undertaken for the successful excavation of large twin tunnels under a shallow cover for a six-lane highway project in India. The tunnels are D-shaped, each 15 m in diameter, and the cover between the tunnels and the existing railway track was about 14 m. These twin tunnel tubes were characterised by two separate three-lane carriageways for each direction of traffic, and were planned with about 25 m of reinforced cement concrete (RCC) portals at the entrance and exit of the tunnels. The major challenge of the project was the blasting of tunnels in rock below an operating railway line. As the tunnels approached the area below the railway line, the ground vibrations were monitored vertically above the blasting faces and on the railway track sleepers. Vibration intensities between those generated from tunnel blasting and those from the movement of the trains were compared, and it was found that the vibrations from blasting were lower than those from the moving trains. Though the permissible level of ground vibration based on the Indian Standard (IS) code happens to be 70 mm/s, the maximum charge per delay was calculated restricting this limit to 50 mm/s. This ensured that the vibrations in the vicinity of the railway tracks never exceeded the prescribed limit of 70 mm/s. The surface ground settlement before and after the blasts were also measured using an optical levelling instrument, which confirmed that there was no significant impact on the surface movements due to blasting. Extensometer readings inside the tunnels showed that there was no deformation in the tunnel. These twin tunnels are now operational and are providing faster connectivity with safety.
Gopinath, G, Venkatesh, H S and Balachander, R, 2015. Controlled blasting for twin tunnels with a shallow cover under an operating railway line, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 801–808 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).