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Overcoming Squeezing in the Yacambú-Quibor Tunnel, Venezuela

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The 5 m diameter 23.3 km long Yacambú-Quibor tunnel is designed to carry water through the Andes from the Yacambú dam in the wet tropical Orinoco basin to the semi-arid but fertile Quibor basin in western Venezuela. The tunnel is excavated in silicified and graphitic phyllites at depths of up to 1270 m below surface and extreme squeezing problems have been encountered. Construction involved 8 contracts extending over 32 years with breakthrough being achieved in July 2008. Several excavation methods and various lining designs were used over the years until the adoption of yielding support permitted the Owner and the Contractor to agree that only a circular section would be used and emphasis was placed on developing a routine construction procedure, irrespective of the rock conditions encountered at the face. This paper describes some of the rock engineering issues that were faced during the construction of this tunnel.

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Correspondence to E. Hoek.

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Correspondence: E. Hoek, Consulting Engineer, Vancouver, Canada

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Hoek, E., Guevara, R. Overcoming Squeezing in the Yacambú-Quibor Tunnel, Venezuela. Rock Mech Rock Eng 42, 389–418 (2009).

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