In the course of the extension of the railway network in Israel, currently the two 4.6 km long tubes of the Gilon Tunnels on the line from Akko to Carmiel are being constructed. The tunnels run through the limestones of the Bina- and Yirka-formations, which locally are karstified. The maximum overburden amounts to 160 m.
The limestones are mostly horizontally bedded and vertically jointed. Occasionally also inclined joints exist. The tunnels cross various fault zones, which mostly strike at an acute angle to the tunnel axis and are steeply inclined. The karstic cavities which were encountered during tunneling have partially been filled by clay. In the vicinity of the fault zones, the rock has often been strongly jointed and weathered respectively. The two single-track tubes have a cross section with vertical walls and an open invert. The tubes are connected by cross cuts with a spacing of approx. 250 m.
During the tender phase, WBI has elaborated the tender design for a joint venture of a Chinese and an Israeli construction company. After the joint venture had been awarded the contract, the preliminary and the detailed design have been elaborated by WBI and the construction works have been guided. On the basis of the geological description, rock mechanical models have been elaborated, followed by stability analyses on the basis of the Finite Element method. The tunnels have been excavated according to the shotcrete method. The support in most areas only consisted of a very thin shotcrete lining and radial bolts in the area of the roof. Depending on the degree of jointing and weathering, locally advancing support by means of spiles has been applied.
The internal lining of reinforced concrete has been constructed in parallel to the heading of the tubes. Mucking and delivery of materials was carried out through the cross cuts.
The breakthrough was achieved in April 2014 and thus within schedule. The predicted distribution of the excavation and support classes along the tunnel has been in good agreement with reality.