Tunnelling and Underground Excavation in Thailand
As a commercial and political center of the country with a rapidly growing population and expansion, Bangkok is continued to witness the need of more infrastructure projects. Various major underground construction projects are being planned and some have been implemented. Below are some of the ongoing and upcoming major projects.
MRT Blue Line Extension
As a part of the 291 kilometer extension of MRT network proposed by Office of Transport and Traffic Planning and Policy (OTP), the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) has awarded the contracts for construction of the second phase of existing MRT system in Bangkok known as The Blue Line Extension Project . The underground sections of the project consist of 5 km tunnels and 4 deep underground stations.The project will have to deal with numbers of technical complexities and challenges as the tunnelling and deep excavation works are to be carried out underneath the most congestive public roads bounded by rows of old buildings in the most populated area of Bangkok. At two stations, Wang Burapha and Sanam Chai station, tunnelling and underground excavation works would face major challenges where full cut-and-cover method is not allowed due to the presence of historical sites.
Flood Diversion Tunnels
Recent flooding in many parts of Thailand has called for the need of more flood drain and diversion tunnels to prevent a repeat of the large scale flood. Bangkok itself was recently threatened by flooding from its main river, the Chao Phraya – with a combination of high tides, the flood surge from the North and heavy rainstorms, low lying areas adjacent to the main river were inundated.The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is building a system of giant drainage tunnels under the city to protect from the annual threat of flooding. With a total length of 35km, these tunnels will channel the floodwaters to the Chao Phraya River, which runs into the Gulf of Thailand. The construction of the four huge tunnels is planned for completion in five years at an estimated total cost of 550 million US Dollars.
Deep Excavation for Underground Space Used
As in other major cities, growing land price and need of underground space for commercial and infrastructure developments necessitated deeper underground excavation works in Bangkok. More frequent use of underground space for environmental protection or green-solution can be seen in recent projects. With the recognition of environmental advantages of underground space, more deep excavation works are expected to materialize in Bangkok and the region.
Technical Site Visit
Technical site visits will be arranged for delegates to see ongoing tunneling and underground construction projects. Interesting completed major projects may also be selected for the technical site visits. Details of technical site visits will be further announced in the congress website www.wtc2012.com
Currently, Bangkok has only 42-kilometer core network of mass rapid transit system, the underground MRT Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line and the elevated Bangkok Transit System (BTS). The Airport Rail Link, 25 kilometer elevated train system connecting Suvarnabhumi International Airport and the city is currently under construction and scheduled to commence operation in 2009.
As the existing mass transit network is considered inadequate to improve Bangkok’s congestive traffic problem, Office of Transport and Traffic Planning and Policy (OTP) proposed the 291 kilometer extension of MRT network. On February 23, 2004, the Commission Management for the Land Traffic (CMLT) passed a resolution to implement the proposal.
Various major underground constructions such as water supply transmission, waste water collection and transmission, flood drains and diversions, and underground power cable installation projects are being implemented. As a commercial and political center of the country with a rapidly growing population, Bangkok will continue to witness more underground construction for its infrastructure development.