The middle section of the Lhasa Shigatse Expressway, known as the National Expressway Lhasa to Shigatse Airport Chabala Service Area to Dazhuka Project, spans 91.108 km. It will consist of bridges and tunnels, making up 71.64% of the entire length. Its completion date is set for March 2024. Currently, the Lari Expressway construction project has received 66.62% of the total budget investment. Traffic conditions are anticipated to be in place by June 2024.
During the middle section of the Lhasa Shigatse Expressway construction process, the construction side faced several challenging issues, including the Puba Tunnel. The entrance face of the tunnel presented difficulties due to the low quality of the surrounding rock. Currently, based on the remaining excavation length, the construction period has been rescheduled, with the goal of achieving a two-track penetration by March 2024.
Located in Nimu County, the Tale Village Bridge across the Yarlung Zangbo River has a main span of 170 meters, which is the longest steel bridge on the entire line of the Lhasa Shigatse Expressway
The Saada Tunnel consists of a left line measuring 1597 meters and a right line measuring 1526 meters. It is located at an average elevation of 3750 meters. The tunnel traverses a mountain in the high mountain region known for structural erosion and denudation. It runs parallel to the current Lali railway tunnel.
Due to complex geological conditions, the construction personnel utilized ground penetrating radar, transient electromagnetic water exploration, and advanced exploration holes to verify each other. They implemented preventive and control measures for potential emergencies, such as strengthening support and drainage treatment. Additionally, they employed high-precision 3D scanning equipment to gather data on the tunnel’s internal structure and deformation, reducing measurement time and significantly enhancing construction efficiency and quality.
Lhasa Shigatse First Class highway
The Lhasa to Shigatse Expressway meets the technical standards of a first-class highway, with a design speed of 100 kilometres per hour. Construction started in June 2020 and is expected to be completed by 2024, significantly reducing the travel time between the two cities to under three hours.
The Lhasa Shigatse Expressway is a crucial corridor for connecting the Tibet Autonomous Region with South Asia and neighbouring countries like Nepal as part of the “Belt and Road” initiative. Additionally, the Lhasa to Shigatse section of National Highway 318 is one of the busiest roads in Tibet. This project will enhance the regional road network, increase road capacity and safety, improve the national transportation corridor, and contribute to the development of the “one circle and two wings” urban construction and the three-hour economic circle centred around Lhasa.