On July 28, Vladimir Putin will take part, via videoconference, in the opening of the Second Baikal Tunnel to railway traffic. The new tunnel crosses the Baikal Ridge and unites two regions of the Russian Federation: the Western part is located in Irkutsk Region and the Eastern part in the Republic of Buryatia.
The construction of the tunnel began in 2014 as part of the project to upgrade and develop the Baikal-Amur and Trans-Siberian railways, which is being carried out in accordance with the instructions of the President and the Russian Government.
The old, one-track Baikal tunnel, built in 1985, was one of the worst bottlenecks on the Baikal-Amur Railway: trains had to wait at the Delbichinda-Daban stretch to let oncoming trains pass. Now the railway has two tracks.
A total of 6,682 metres of tunnel were excavated underground in complex geological conditions. Sometimes, the driving rate reached 300 metres per month. The tunnel is laid at a depth of up to 300 metres.
In all, 1,500 workers and over 100 units of mining and road construction equipment and vehicles were involved in building the tunnel.
The opening ceremony for the new Baikal tunnel will be attended by workers that took part in its construction, maintenance experts and executives of Russian Railways and the MOST Group.