The Underwater Tunnel for the New Campus

ISSUE10 OCTOBER 2011 MyUM

When the 24-hour underwater tunnel connecting Macao and the new campus is put into use by the end of 2012, people will be able to commute between Macao and the new campus via the tunnel in the shortest time without going through immigration clearance.

 

Cofferdam Construction

The underwater tunnel will be a main passageway leading to the new campus, and so various issues concerning the tunnel, including site selection, construction methods and tunnel depth, have gone through discussions by various parties as well as expert review. The preliminary design of the tunnel was completed last August, and the cofferdam project began last November. The “cofferdam project” refers to the process of first selecting a suitable location in the waterway to build two dykes for water diversion and then pumping out the water from the cofferdam. Tunnel construction can then proceed on the dry level ground in the middle of the cofferdam. The last-stage cofferdam-joining works are now underway. Later, construction of the main structure of the tunnel will begin and is expected to be completed and receive inspection around the end of October 2012.

After the construction of the tunnel is completed, water will be pumped into the cofferdam to keep the tunnel submerged for testing for a period of time in order to ensure that the tunnel has a sufficient capacity to resist the current and the water pressure. Also, piles will be used for tunnel construction to prevent settlement. The tunnel will have the capacity to withstand earthquakes measuring up to 7.0 on the Richter scale.

Four Lanes for Vehicles

The tunnel will be 1,600 metres long. Construction of the tunnel will be divided into three sections, namely the Hengqin section, the underwater section and the Macao section. It will take a car travelling at a speed of 50km an hour approximately three minutes to pass the tunnel. The tunnel will have four lanes for vehicles and one 1000-metre-long lane for pedestrians. There will be escalators leading up to the ground at both exits of the tunnel. It will take approximately ten to fifteen minutes to walk from the Macao-side tunnel entrance to the new campus.