China’s widest shield tunnel excavated beneath Yellow River

China drilled a tunnel for both rail and road transport beneath the Yellow River on Saturday in Jinan, capital of east China’s Shandong Province, creating the nation’s largest tunnel yet by the shield-tunneling method.

With a total length of 4,760 meters, the tunnel project is designed to have a two-way six-lane highway on the upper level and rail-transit on the lower level, according to the China Railway 14th Bureau Group Co., Ltd., which is managing the project.

The tunnel extends for 2,519 meters beneath the riverbed of this section of the Yellow River, which sits five meters above downtown Jinan, forming a “hanging river.” The tunnel has an outer diameter of 15.2 meters and was created by two shield-tunneling machines.

The tunnel is scheduled to open to traffic in October this year. The journey across the Yellow River section in Jinan will take four minutes by road vehicle or 2.5 minutes by metro train, nearly an hour quicker than the current roundabout route by bridge.