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M. M.

18 Workshop on Construction of Dams and Tunnels in Weak
Rocks, 25-26 May 2011, Solan, Himachal Pradesh

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study

of Tunnel Construction at Allain
Duhangan Hydroelectric Project
M. M. Madan

Malana Power Company Ltd.

Synopsis :Allain Duhangan Hydro Electric project is located near the beautiful tourist
location of Manali town in Himachal Pradesh. The project barrage is located at a height
of nearly 3000m above MSL, having a steep topography and snow bound in the winter
months. The development of infrastructure was a big challenge besides opposition
from local villagers who wanted to get all the benefits in the form of employment and
all development contracts. The road length of about 14km on each stream Allain and
Duhangan had 32 bends each to climb a height of 1000m. The tunnel passed through a very
weak strata and glacial deposits with a very heavy seepage water flow that complicated
the excavation of tunnel. At one time it was felt that this tunnel would never get completed
and as a contingency it was planned to carry water through surface penstocks by passing
the tunnel. With the help of P 5 system of excavation in the extremely weak formation the
tunnel was excavated successfully. Over and above project had to make a transmission
system of 175km having acute ROW problems. Finally on 31 Oct. 2009 breakthrough of
Allain tunnel was achieved in the most difficult face and final lining was a combination
of concrete lining and steel lining. Finally the project successfully started generation
on 17 July 2010 through a contingency plan, generating power at a lower voltage than
designed which was tried first time in the world. The paper explains the problems faced
in excavation of Allain side of tunnel and the methodology adopted to overcome the
difficult zone.

Brief Description of Project

Allain Duhangan Hydro Electric Project (192 MW) is located near village Prini of Manali, Himachal
Pradesh. It is run of the river project utilizing the inflow of two small tributaries of river Beas,
Allain and Duhangan. These tributaries/ streams flow along the left bank and join river Beas near
Manali. Project is designed to generate annually 800 MU in a 90% dependable year. Project will
supply 192 MW power to the grid for 3 hours and 45 minutes during peak hours every day during
low inflow period of the year.
Allain Duhangan H. E. Project consists of a barrage across Allain stream at EL 2750m designed
for flood discharge of 730 cumecs. Head regulator located along the left bank consists of four bays
with total capacity to divert 22.6 cumecs of water to the De-silting basin. De-silting basin consists
of four longitudinal 80m long parallel chambers each with a 2m wide central gutter to carry the
silt back to river through 100m long silt flushing pipes. 4.0m 1000m long circular Head Race
Tunnel has been constructed to carry water from De-silting basin to an Intermediate Reservoir.
FRL and MDDL of the Intermediate Reservoir are El 2748m and El 2738m respectively. Length
of 4.0m Head Race Tunnel from Intermediate Reservoir to Surge Shaft is 3100m. Complete
water conductor system from Intake is 4099m long.

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project


For utilizing the flows of Duhangan Nallah, a 25.5m wide trench weir with discharge capacity
of 8.6 cumecs has been envisaged to be constructed. Average bed level of Duhangan Nallah at
the weir site is El 2782m. An inclined trash rack and collecting chamber on the right bank are
set across the bed of the stream leading to a 90m long and 10m wide underground De-silting
chamber. Flushing system is provided with a gate. De-silting chamber is designed to have a flow
velocity of 0.19m/sec. 4m , 4220m long horse shoe shaped Head Race Tunnel from De-silting
basin to Surge Shaft is designed to carry 8.6 cumecs of water during low inflow period of the
year contributing to an extent of 25% of water requirement of the power house. A gate has been
provided in the Duhangan Head Race Tunnel so as to regulate the utilization of inflow of this
stream whenever required.
In order to meet the water requirement to generate power at full capacity for 3 hrs and 45 minutes
during peak hours of the day, total 308,500 cum of storage has been envisaged/ created in the
project. Total water requirement of power station with both machines generating to full capacity
is 31 cumecs.
A 8m , 98m high steel lined surge shaft with top at El 2777m has been designed to absorb surges
created due to sudden load variation/ tripping of the generating units in the power station. 1545m
long 3m steel lined pressure shaft with three horizontal and three inclined lengths connects
Head Race Tunnel at El 2680m to power station at 1872m. The inclination(s) of the pressure
shaft are at an angle of 520 to horizontal. Entire length of pressure shaft is steel lined with varying
diameter of 3m to 2.4m. The Pressure shaft bifurcates into two branches of 1.8m diameter each
at the bottom.
The underground power house complex consists of two caverns. One cavern houses two vertical
Pelton turbines coupled to 96 MW generators with auxiliary equipment(s) for generating units and
control systems. Net head available on the turbines is 858m. The generating units are designed
to operate continuously at 20% overload. Other cavern houses 7 Nos. Single phase 11/220 kV
generator transformers including one spare unit. After generation of power the water is discharged
back to Allain Stream through 4m wide x 4m high x 885m long tail race tunnel and same size
30m long box channel. Power is sent out of underground power station complex by 220 kV single
phase XLPE cables from transformer cavern to outdoor switch yard routed through vertical cable
tunnel cum ventilation shaft.
2. Geology of the Area and Tunnel
The Project area lies in a part of the Great Himalayan range which have undergone several phases
of movements and metamorphisms. The area is exposed by metamorphic rocks of Kullu formation
and of Central Crystalline, comprising of micaceous Quartzite and Quartz-mica Schist occupying
core portion of synclines and these are cofolded with rocks of Central Crystalline, comprising of
Quartzite, Schist and Gneisses. The project site lies in Seismic Zone-V. Geological rock strata in
Allain Duhangan HRT is encountered by Gneisses, Schist in weathered & fractured bands with,
dripping to flowing ground condition and pockets of fluvioglacial deposits.
An important feature is that the rock surface is covered by fluvioglacial deposits along the whole
headrace tunnel. Traces in the rock surface, which often give valuable information on the geological
rock strata and the rock mass conditions below, can hardly be observed.


M. M. Madan

Another significant feature is the occurrence of mica-rich rock, generally sub-horizontal gneisses
in the Allain tunnels and adits. This is a light-coloured gneiss with large muscovite minerals which
give the rock a schistose appearance. The muscovite is susceptible to weathering, and these rocks
are probably weathered to very highly weathered than the gneisses elsewhere.
In most of the cases with the problematic tunneling conditions, it has been a combination of highly
weathered rock masses under water inflow. The tunnel has in many cases been excavated into the
water conveying joints or zones. Treating in flowing water condition is generally very difficult,
especially in combination with poor rock masses, and requires often much time to stabilize.
3. Allain Head Race Tunnel (HRT)
A 4.0m circular Head Race Tunnel from d/s of desilting chamber through intermediate reservoir
is 4099m long. However from Intermediate Reservoir to Surge Shaft the length of HRT is 3100m.
Most of the area along the Allain tunnel is covered by loose deposits and thick vegetation which
complicated the interpretation of the rock mass conditions from surface observations. Poor ground
conditions were encountered at many locations in the tunnel during excavation. Water inflow in
addition to the poor rock mass caused severe tunneling problems and greatly reduced the progress.
The geology of the tunnel was so weak, that at many places the tunnel alignment had to be diverted.
Initially the tunnel was to be excavated with two adits and 6 faces only but later on due to poor
geology one more adit was added & the tunnel was excavated through 8 faces.

Tunnel Description

The Allain headrace tunnel extends from the diversion, desilting and intake works on Allain Nallah
to the intermediate reservoir, and then continues to the valve house that is located at the top of the
inclined pressure shaft leading to the powerhouse. The valve house is located adjacent to the surge
shaft and to the junction with the Duhangan headrace tunnel. The tunnel has a very small slope,
a nominal excavated diameter from 4.0 m to 4.5m and a total length of 4041 m.
The tunnel consists of two separate parts which, for purposes both of excavation and of lining
construction, have been divided into four sections with a total of 8 working faces. The first part,
extending from the intake at the upstream works to the intermediate reservoir, is 998 m long
and is referred to as Section I. In Section I, the upstream working face, starting at the intake and
progressing downstream is designated as Face 1 while the face starting at the intermediate reservoir
and progressing upstream is designated as Face 2.
The second part of the tunnel starts at the intermediate reservoir and extends to a point near the
valve house for a total distance of 3043 m. It is divided by two construction adits points into three
sections: Section II, extending from the reservoir to the intersection with Adit 4A has a length
of 1378 m. The upstream working face of Section II is designated Face 3 while the downstream
face, progressing upstream from Adit 4A, is Face 4. Section III extends 1141 m from the Adit 4A
intersection to the Adit 4 intersection. The upstream and downstream working faces in Section
III are designated Face 5 and Face 6 respectively. The final tunnel segment, Section IV, extends
from the Adit 4 intersection to a point near the valve house (intersection with construction adit
3A), a distance of 524 m. Upstream and downstream working faces of Section IV are referred to
as Face 7 and Face 8 respectively.

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project


















5. Section -1 (Between Faces-I & II) 999m

The section I between Intake to Intermediate reservoir is 999m long. This section was excavated
from three faces. Face I from d/s of desilting chamber and Face II and 60m length towards
intermediate reservoir was excavated from Adit 5. Adit 5 was 85m long and was excavated during
16.04.2007 to 30.06.2007.
Face-I (352m) long was started on 2.07.2006 and face II (584m) was started on 1.07.2007. The
tunnel passed through overburden and RBM, fluvioglacial & scree deposits, highly decomposed
mass of schistose gneiss, shear seams along foliation plane, soft clay infillings, decomposed
mica bands and dripping water conditions. The entire tunnel was supported with steel ribs. The
breakthrough was achieved on 12.08.2008. The final lining was a combination of steel as well
as concrete.
The rock classes encountered in the above reach were as follows:


Class V


Class IV


Class III


Class II


Class I


Overall Class I, II & III encountered were 26.34%, whereas Class IV & V and overburden were


M. M. Madan

6. Section-II (Between Faces-III & IV) 1378m

From the intermediate reservoir upto face-III the length of tunnel is 1105m and face IV of 273m
was started on 15.04 2008 after introduction of additional adit namely Adit-4A which was 348m
long. The adit excavation of 348m was completed in a period of 19.12.2006 to 31.03.2008 as
the entire reach consisted of overburden and fluvioglacial deposits. The tunnel passed through
highly decomposed mass of schistose gneiss, with thick shear bands varying from 1.2m to 2m
thickness, soft clay infillings, decomposed mica bands and heavy ingress of seepage water and
in class II the rock mass was unweathered schistose gneiss. The entire tunnel was supported with
steel ribs. The breakthrough was achieved on 24.07.2008. The final lining was a combination of
steel as well as concrete.
The rock classes encountered in the above reach were as follows:


Class V


Class IV


Class III


Class II


Class I


Overall Class I, II & III encountered were 55.54%, whereas Class IV & V and overburden were
7. Section-III (Between Faces-V & VI) 1144m
This section of tunnel was excavated from Adit 4A (348m) and Adit 4 (260m). Adit 4A started on
19.12.2006 and completed on 31.03.2008, and Adit 4 started on 1.7.2005 and got completed on
31.08.2007. Both the adits passed through very poor tunnelling media consisting of over burden,
fluvioglacial deposits, highly weathered and sheared rock conditions. Heavy inflow of water and
collapse of the roof was observed at many places forcing the engineers to divert the alignment at
many places. Excavation of Face V was started on 1.4. 2008 and was completed on 31.10.2009,
whereas the face VI was started on 1.9.2007 and was completed on 31.10.2009. The tunnel passed
through highly decomposed mass of schistose gneiss, with thick shear bands varying from 1.2m
to 2m thickness, soft clay infillings, decomposed mica bands and heavy ingress of seepage water
upto 200 lps to 300 lps was encountered in both faces. It is feared that probably a sub strata stream
has been cut across the main alignment of tunnel. Due to presence of blocky and jointed rock
strata associated with mica schist bands and considerable water seepage, the supporting of the
excavated profile with steel ribs, pipe fore-poles, umbrella, pre-drainage, pre-grouting with micro
fine cement, silica fume, colloidal Silica, shotcreting is being done almost in the entire reach of
tunnel. The entire tunnel was supported with steel ribs. The final lining was a combination of
steel as well as concrete.

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project


The rock classes encountered in Face -V were as follows:

Class V


Class IV


Class III


The rock classes encountered in Face- VI were as follows:

Class V


Class IV


Overall Class I, II & III encountered were 06%, whereas Class IV & V and overburden
were 94%.
60 % of Face-VI tunnelling was constructed in a flowing ground and very thick shear bands filled
with gougy material and high seepage water to the extent of 6000 litre per min (100 lps) regularly.
The progress achieved in class V is 0.5m per day on an average. At many places sinking of tunnel
was also observed forcing re-mining of the tunnel.
The methodology of excavation adopted had a heavy expenditure impact but tunnel could be
8. Section-IV (Between Faces-VII & VIII) 578m.
Face VII (260m) was started on 1.12.1007 and Face VIII (265m) was started on 1.11.2007 through
Adit 3A (281m). Breakthrough between Face-VII & VIII was achieved on 25. 1. 2009. The initial
200m section of the tunnel existed in poor to fairly weathered biotite gneiss rock with little seepage
of water beyond which due to heavy seepage of water and non-cohesive sandy strata made the
tunnelling extremely difficult. The advancement of the tunnel had to be abandoned at chainage
200m and diversion was taken towards left at Ch. 188m. Even here also similar conditions were
met but were managed. It took six months to excavate 80m by using P 5 system of excavation
by carrying out massive pre-grouting with cement, umbrella roofing, drainage of heading and
supporting the excavated profile with steel ribs at close spacing of 50 cm by adopting heading
& benching method.
The rock classes encountered in the above reach were as follows:
Class V


Class IV


Total rock encountered in class IV and V was 100%.

9. Discussion on problems faced during Excavation of Allain
Old crystalline rocks of banded and streaky gneisses occupy the ground in the Allain Duhangan
area. During excavation of the Allain headrace tunnel, severe problems were caused by poor
rock masses and found abundant inflowing water. The poor rock masses consisted mainly of subhorizontal, mica-rich gneisses, which have been strongly weathered. A system of steep NE-SW


M. M. Madan

striking joint zones or faults/shears occurred almost parallel to the long straight stretch of the
headrace tunnel. On the surface, open parts of these were observed, indicating that they are waterconducting, thus feeding surface water into the ground. The mica-rich rock strata as mentioned
were highly weathered along these zones.
As most of the rock surface along the Allain headrace tunnel is covered with loose fluvioglacial
deposits, it involved a great deal of uncertainty as to where these water-conveying zones would
occur. The present HRT alignment encountered large excavation problems giving severe tunneling
challenges and difficulties.
During excavation of the Allain headrace tunnel and adits, poor ground conditions were encountered
in several locations, this caused many stoppages and re-routing of tunnel alignment at many places
giving very slow tunneling progress. Main feature had been poor rock masses + large inflows of
water. Collapses took place in some of the tunnels and the adits were often deviated to be able to
continue excavation in these very difficult tunneling conditions.
The overall position of Allain tunnel geology encountered is Class I, II, III- 20% (out of which
only 4-5% was class I & II) and Class IV and V- 78%. The geology predicted in DPR was Class
I, II, III was 90 % and Class IV & V was 10 %.

P 5 System in Extremely Weak Geology for Excavation

To stop flow of ground material; the face was Plugged with sand bags covered with
thick layer of dry shotcrete so as to stop leakage.

Probe holes drilling one hole at the centre at the crown and two at 10 oclock &
2 oclock position were drilled to a depth as per requirement which were varying
from 6m to 12m or longer. Even a hole up to 31m was also drilled successfully to
assess the rock condition. This hole gave excellent data and further progress could
be estimated as the tunnel was to finish and there was uncertainty about the strata
ahead. With this prediction it was decided not to abandon and re route the face but
to continue with the same methodology. The hole also acted as drainage hole. The
holes can also be used as pre grouting of the face ahead. The pipe should be provided
with NRV packers in case high pressure water is encountered.

Pressure relief hole/Drainage hole for channelising water flow were provided 3-4m
away from the face.

Pipe Roofing or Fore-polling was carried out using 89mm dia seamless perforated
pipes of 10-12m length by creating an umbrella of pipes. The pipes were touching
skin-to-skin right from RHS spring level to LHS spring level and erection of dummy
ribs to support the pipes. Later on these ribs were removed before final lining.

Pre-grouting with long holes with packer assembly was carried out through the same
probe holes. The grouting was carried out first with OPC and then with Micro fine
cement/Ultra fine cement/colloidal silica and adding silica fumes and other chemicals
etc as per the requirement.

Excavation of face was carried out very carefully by opening quarter heading at
one time from one side and half side Ribs were provided with vertical support at a

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project


spacing of 0.5m only. If the strata was flowing then Rib supports were provided at
a close spacing or zero spacing by installing ribs touching flange to flange.

Simultaneously Backfilling the space between ribs and the rock was carried out with
Plain Cement Concrete immediately.

As the crown is provided with pipe roofing, therefore next set of ribs were installed
by simply removing the muck from heading and back filled the ribs with concrete.
This erection of rib continued upto a distance short of 3m of pipe roofing end point.
So that enough support is available for pipes in the roof.

11. Requirements


For the drilling of holes for pipe roofing/probe drilling/pre-grouting special machine
is required to be deployed.

Seam less perforated pipes for roof support.

For grouting, high pressure grout pump is required to be deployed.

NRV type packers required for stopping back pressure of seepage water and grout
flowing back through the pipes.

Grouting additives like ultra fine cement, colloidal Silica and PU grout material
should always be available at the face.

Treatment of Extremely Weak Zones at Allain HRT

Based on the surface topography and rock strata encountered with sudden ingress of water again
and again, it is presumed that there may be several perennial streams flowing along the natural
slope between weak rock strata/shear zone/flovioglacial deposits due to presence of snow bound
area and old glacial deposits. These all underground flowing water channels/ pockets occurred
along the contact of rocky strata and flovioglacial deposits matrix. At Allain HRT, the alignment
observed was in N27E direction whereas streams flow direction was noticed from east to west
which seems to be sub-perpendicular to the tunnel alignment. Therefore, ingress of water always
occurred from hill side of tunnel.
The following methodology was adopted for stabilizing the flowing ground condition the strata
encountered at various faces of Allain HRT:

Plugging & Stabilization of Face

Immediately after drilling of probe holes the heading was packed with sand bags.
Horizontal struts in the form of channels and I beams were welded to the ribs at springing
level to prevent deformation of ribs. Shotcrete was sprayed at heading to prevent leakage
of grout from the face and to facilitate channelizing of water.

Probe Hole Investigation before Next Excavation

In order to assess the ground conditions ahead of heading, a series of probe holes were
drilled in the face. At various faces series of thin parallel shear seams were encountered.


M. M. Madan

These seams crossed the tunnel alignment at 50 from left to right and consisted of clay
gouge, mylonite and brecciate material with dripping. Thus 20m long probe holes
were drilled at crown of the excavation heading as well as at Springing level with Soil
Mech (SM-400).
During drilling of probe hole, the field Geologist Plotted lithology on the basis of probe hole
data observations. After completion of probing, The probe hole got charged while hitting shear
zone with heavy flow of water with moderate pressure. Initially water flow contained
clay particles but after sometime it became clean in nature.

Pressure Relief and Drainage Holes

Three numbers of 89 mm dia drainage hole of 15m length were drilled in crown periphery
at 15 upwards followed by installation of perforated seamless pipes. This helped
in reduction of hydrostatic pressure and minimizing seepage from face ahead. About
40 % to 50 % water on the face was channelized and drained through these drainage
holes at the crown.
12.4 Protection of Roof
After drilling drainage holes to divert the water away from the face, 89 mm dia,
12m long holes were drilled in the periphery of the tunnel crown @ 250 mm c/c spacing,
followed by installation of 6mm thick seamless pipes. Soil-Mech machine allowed the
pipes to be installed along with the drilling of holes instead of installation of pipe
after drilling of holes, which was not possible due to collapse of holes. Almost all
pipes got charged with water and water inflow at the face reduced further.

Grouting with OPC and Micro Fine

Cement grouting was carried out through all the pipes installed as pipe roofing. As
the pipes were perforated cement grout spread around the pipes to create a thick cement
seam at the crown. Grouting was carried out at 3 to 4 bar pressure depending up on the ground
condition and the water cement ratio of grout mix was 1:1 to 2:1. Arch at the crown and
the fully grouted steel pipe took the load of loose overburden. MAI and, Roto screw type grout
pumps were used for grouting.
Micro fine cement with a fineness of 9000 Blaine was used for grouting wherever, clay
band was encountered. However, application of Micro fine cement always followed
grouting with OPC, solely due to cost consideration, as Micro fine cement is about 30
times as expensive as OPC.
With this methodology flowing ground was tackled. A progress of 15m to 30m could be achieved
in a month.
Slowly and slowly complete face was stabilized by 1st week of May 2009 after a period of almost
6 months. Thereafter face excavation was continued very carefully and slowly by adopting 5 P
System of Excavation and a progress of 13,9,9,13,34 and 39m was achieved in the months of May
to Oct 2009 respectively. Final break through was achieved on 31Oct. 2009.

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project



Polyurethane PU-10: Grouting

During treatment of collapsed zones it was observed that in the areas where heading is covered
with clayey mass (sheared and decomposed mica schist) accompanied with heavy water inflow,
use of normal cement grout was not successful as water would wash out all the grout and clay
bands would work as barriers for the cement grout to penetrate effectively for consolidation. In
such areas Polyurethane was used to consolidate the tunnel heading.
Polyurethane, also called PU-10, is a two component based grouting compound, used in
combination with Polyurethane part A and a DI-n-Butyl phthalate based catalyst Part-B a
red colored gel/foam. In the conventional system two liquid combine together to start a chemical
reaction in presence of water. Consequently the mixed material begins continuous transition
from liquid to solid phase. During this transition the viscosity of the mixed material increases.
Chemical reaction takes place only when it comes into contact with the water in the stratum. As
the induction period elapses, the reaction of chemical begins, viscosity increases, and large
number of gas bubbles form Due to formation of these gas bubbles volume of grout increases
to about 10-15 times The compound so formed after reacting with water has higher compressive
strength increased internal friction and cohesive strength. It also forms a water proof protective
sheet in the heading enabling the water to get diverted from the face.
Before PU-10 grouting, whole heading face was packed with sand bags followed by three layers
of shotcrete. After making of all preparations for grouting, 15 nos. of hole were drilled above
springing level which were 45mm in diameter and 9m in length followed by 20mm dia perforated
(from 2 to 8.5m long) MS pipes. Then grouting commenced with PU-10 chemicals from the
bottom holes. During leakages grouting was stopped from the present hole and restarted from the
neighboring holes.
About 2260 liters of polyurethane chemical was injected in 15 holes with maximum pressure of 2
bars in Stage -I grouting. Another set of 15 nos. of holes were drilled in between the earlier holes
in staged manner. The length of each hole was 6 m followed by 20mm dia. perforated (from 5
to 6 m long) MS pipe. Again grouting was commenced after two days of completion of stage -I
grouting starting from left bottom to right top. During grouting it was observed that leakage of
grout was negligible from previously grouted holes but continued in small amount from recently
drilled holes. After assessing the leakage of grout, at maximum 3 bars pressure grouting work
was terminated. In stage-II a total quantity of about 7140 litre of chemical was injected at 1 to 3
bars pressure. A total quantity of 9600 litre of PU grout was injected at 1-3 bars pressure. After
completion of grouting, probing was done to see the effect of grout. During probing it was noticed
that up to 4m length mass had been consolidated and but thereafter, effect of grouting had gradually
reduced. However, all the remaining water at the heading was diverted 5-7m before the face, and
some of the previously drilled drainage holes became fully charged.
When the face was opened for further excavation it was observed that face was dry and a 30-50
cm thick layer of PU has formed above the crown, which was enough to take temporary load till
rib support was installed. A mechanical excavation method was adopted for further advancement
with the use of tunnel excavator, chisel and breakers Blasting was strictly prohibited due to poor


M. M. Madan

geological condition and to minimize the risk of collapse due to vibration and loosening of the
mass. To make 0.5m advance a narrow groove was excavated in heading for rib erection. This
system of close spaced rib erection followed with concrete /shotcrete backfill was continued for
a distance of 8m leaving 4m overlap with the 12m long pipe roofing. After completion of a round
of 8 m, another round of drilling of 12m long pipe roofing was taken up. This process continued
till the end of shear zone. Cement grouting was continued till 4m beyond the boundary of shear
zone to prevent water flowing towards the heading.
During the face sealing the seepage water was release through the pipes, which were then covered
with shotcrete. The outlet of the pipe was kept open to allow the flow of water. After sealing the
face, long drain holes were drilled at the face to drain out the groundwater.
A time came when project decided to provide surface penstocks from one adit to the other. It was
also decided to continue with the tunnel excavation also.

Other Works
Pressure Shaft
Adit II (213m long)
Through Adit II excavation of upper limb of 312m horizontal and 315m inclined pressure shaft
was done. It was located 28m in overburden. Except for a small section with poor rock where steel
arches have been installed, the rock mass conditions encountered were fair for horizontal section
but the inclined portion passed through a fair to poor schistose gneiss rock.
Adit I (340m long)
This adit has been made for the construction of lower limb of inclined pressure shaft. The rock
strata encountered was fairly good mica schist rock. Through this adit excavation of 112m of
horizontal portion and 567m long inclined pressure shaft at 52 inclination was carried out. The
excavation of inclined portion was done by using Alimak raise climber.
Duhangan Tunnel
The HRT of Duhangan is 4220m long. This portion of 4360m is being excavated through 2 faces
namely face10 and face11. The strata comprises of fair & good rock. The excavated profile is
generally being supported with rock bolts & shotcrete. The Duhangan head Race tunnel is passing
through Micaceous quartzite, granitic-gneiss and mica schist with occasional pegmatite veins
and shears. The tunnel has passed under large rock cover, up to more than 1000m. The Break
Through of this tunnel has been achieved on 21.12.2010
Adit III
Adit III (396m) was excavated from 18.4.2006 to 22.12.2007, 56m in overburden, and the rest
in highly to moderately weathered biotite rich Schistose Gneiss rock with parallel mica schist

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project


bands in highly weathered condition. Through this adit 140m tunnel was excavated towards surge
shaft and face10.
The work of face 10 was started in 22 Dec. 2007. The excavated length of face -10 consists of
biotite rich, dark /black colored rock mass of schistose gneiss. Which is moderately strong &
almost dry in condition but initial zone was fully steel ribbed and thereafter only rock bolting and
shotcreting is being followed as support of the rock. The over break has been controlled by using
modified drilling pattern and use of 6gm cord in the periphery holes. The over break has been
reduced from 20% to 10% at many places.
The work on this face has been started on 24-12-2007. This face was started from upstream side
near desilting chamber. Encountered rock mass in face -11 is light gray colored quartzitic gneiss
with thick bend of schistose gneiss, micaceous schist/ pegmatite veins. Due to high rock cover in
Face-11 highly stressed and occasional popping has been observed. The roof is having horizontal
stratification. Only rock bolts with wire mesh has been used to support the rock. Occasional steel
ribs were erected where shear seams were passing or where rock fall occurred due to highly
stressed rock mass.


With the exception of a few small rock exposures in the principal nalas (streams) that cross
the alignment, the Allain stream left bank tunnel route is overlain by a thick blanket of glacial
overburden composed of ground moraine (till) and fluvio-glacial deposits. Steep rock cliffs on
the right bank of Allain Nala (stream) expose a gently north-dipping, thick-bedded sequence of
mica schist and mica gneisses, similar in appearance of the competent rocks of the powerhouse
access tunnel and tailrace tunnel at lower elevations. Therefore similar conditions were assumed
to be present in the Allain headrace tunnel but unfortunately this did not happen.
What was only recognized in the course of excavating the various construction adits and tunnel
faces was the fact that the rocks on the left bank were heavily tectonized and charged with melt
water from the glaciers located at higher elevations. When encountered in Face 1 and in construction
adits 4 and 4A, overburden materials were non-cohesive and saturated and, consequently, prone
to running-ground conditions and the formation of chimneys often extending to the ground
surface. With most of the tunnel being in rock, the rock conditions encountered varied from fair,
where it was possible to provide temporary support with rockbolts, shotcrete and occasional steel
rib supports, to very poor where the rock was closely fractured, sheared, altered and saturated,
Groundwater inflows were numerous with caving conditions and the formation of chimney voids
in the tunnel crown occurring in several areas.
These very poor rock conditions impeded normal tunnel excavation progress and necessitated
special excavation methods as well as , in addition to the use of closely-spaced steel supports,


M. M. Madan

innovative support techniques such as the use of forepoles, pipe-roofing and extensive grouting
with microfine cement and other grouts, like polyurethane for the consolidation of unstable
ground and seepage control. More than 50% of the tunnel encountered poor to very poor rock
conditions. The most troublesome areas have included the first 300 m of Face 1, most of which
was in running overburden, the first 300 m of Face 3, where the tunnel intersected a series of
shear zones carrying heavy seepage, and Face 6, most of which has been in very weak, saturated
and caving ground.
Methods adopted during construction to combat the poor ground conditions and recognition of the
extent of these conditions necessitated some changes to the original tunnel design. Three changes
are particularly important with respect to the design of the as constructed lining:

Enlargement of the excavated section from 4.0 m to 4.5 m to facilitate the movement of
equipment in the tunnel. This change affected all tunnel sections and resulted in several
changes to the finished concrete and steel tunnel diameters and lining thicknesses;

A number alignment changes were adopted to bypass zones of caving ground. These changes
complicated the construction of steel and concrete linings.

Presence of closely spaced steel rib supports together with other temporary support elements
(forepoles, roof pipe umbrellas etc). These all have interfered with the lining of tunnel.

The anticipated rock class for the entire tunnel was as follows:

Category I having Q value as 19 and RQD as 95, would consist of Massive Gneisses in
50% of the tunnel length.

Category II having Q value as 13.2 and RQD as 50, would consist of Quartzite/Mica Schistin 40% of the tunnel length.

Category III having Q value as 0.33 and RQD as 25, would consist of Fractured and Sheared
Rock Zones in 10% of the tunnel length.

During execution entire geological assessment proved wrong. No high level of seepage was
anticipated. It was stated that the tunnels would be generally cutting across the foliation trend
which is favourable condition. During execution highly unfavourable conditions were encountered.
The tunneling was done using all latest modern equipment for excavation as well as linning. Total
expenditure on the additional equipment was approx Rs 100 Crores ($22m). Most of the excavation
was done using P5 system of tunneling. Actual expenditure worked out was as high as Rs 4.5 Lacs
($ 10,000) per meter on tunnelling.
Relatively large 350 lps of seepage water encountered at a number of points along the tunnel
had greatly affected the operations. The combination of extensive zones of sheared altered rock
and an apparently unlimited supply of ground water resulted in very unstable ground conditions
during excavation.
The final break through in between Faces 5 and 6 was achieved on 31 Oct 2009 and project was
commissioned on 17 July 2010 by synchronizing the machines to the grid using Allain waters

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project

Collapse of Face In Weak Rock and High Seepage Pressure

Flowing Strata



M. M. Madan

Soilmech Machine Used for Pipe Roofing

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project

High Water Pressure

Duhangan Tunnel during Excavation



M. M. Madan

Very High Seepage Water

Seepage Water With High Pressure

Tunnelling in Weak Zone- A Case Study of Tunnel Construction at Allain Duhangan Hydroelectric Project

Scheff Loader

A View of Lined Tunnel



M. M. Madan


M. M. Madan CEO, Malana Power Company Ltd ( LNJ Bhilwara Group) is a B Tech in Civil
Engineering and MBA; He is an expert in the field of Hydro Power Development in India,
construction of Underground works and Large Hydroelectric Projects.
He worked as Executive Director, NHPC for projects on Ravi River and tributaries, Parbati Valley
projects in Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand projects Dhauliganga & Tanakpur and at Corporate
office for Major Contracts.
As General Manager he headed some of the largest Hydro Power Projects; Teesta Hydro Electric
Project Stage- V (510 MW) at Sikkim and Himachals Prestigious 800 MW Parbati Hydroelectric
project Stage II and Stage III (520MW).
He was Awarded CBI&P- I.N.Sinha Award 2002 for his contribution in Water Resources
Engineering in the country and recognised as TOP 100 ENGINEERS 2009 International
Biographical Centre Cambridge, England
He has to his credit Publication & presentations of over 145 technical papers in professional
journals, national and international seminars, symposiums and conferences. He has also published
award winning Books on Tunnelling.
He is a Member of International Society of Rock Mechanics, International Tunnelling Association,
International Hydropower Association, Indian Society of Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling
Technology, Chartered Engineer and Fellow, Institution of Engineers (India) and Fellow, Institution
of Valuers.