VIENTIANE, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The construction of cross-border Friendship Tunnel on China-Laos railway is proceeding smoothly, the Chinese company in charge of the project said on Sunday.
"We have made a 300-meter entrance into the cross-border mountains, and will have half of the job done in the Lao side at the end of this year," Wang Xiaodong, Chinese communist party secretary of the construction unit boring the Friendship Tunnel from the Lao side, told Xinhua in northern Lao border town Boten, some 400 km north of lao capital Vientiane.
China Railway No. 2 Group Co., Ltd, which is responsible for construction of the northernmost and southernmost sections of China-Laos railway, is boring the China-Laos Friendship Tunnel from each side.
The tunnel, with the total length of 9,595 meters, is divided into two parts, 7,170 meters in the Chinese side and 2,425 meters in the Lao side.
The entrance to the tunnel of the Lao side had been completely finished, and the workers were planting shrubs and flowers on some 50-meter-long side slopes, Wang said.
"The construction is proceeding smoothly, with quality, safety and time schedule of the work under control," Wang said.
"We have confidence in achieving a model project," Wang said.
The China-Laos railway is promoted by leaders of the two countries as one of interconnectivity projects. Since the commence of construction in December 2016, building of tunnels, bridges, roadbed and other sections have been progressed smoothly along the route.
The China-Laos railway has a total length of over 414 kilometers with over 60 percent of bridges and tunnels, linking Mohan-Boten border gate in northern Laos and capital Vientiane. Operating speed on the route is designed at 160 km per hour.
The cross-border railway is scheduled to be completed in five years with a total investment of some 40 billion Chinese yuan (5.8 billion U.S. dollars)
Last December, the 301-meter-long Ban Somsanook No.2 Tunnel in Laos' Vientiane province became the first holing-through tunnel of the China-Laos railway project.