PS Veligonda Project

Pula Subbaiah Veligonda Project

  • Machine Type Double Shield TBM 
  • Diameter 10.0 m (Cross section 78.56 sqm)
  • Tunnel Type: Water Transfer
  • Tunnel Length: 18.8 km
  • Owner: Government of Andhra Pradesh
  • Location: Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, India

Project Overview

Beneath India’s largest tiger sanctuary, the Nagarjuna Sagar National Park, tunnel boring machines are orchestrating one of the largest water transfer schemes in India. RPPL is using a Robbins Double Shield TBM is bore tunnel No. 2 of the Pula Subbaiah Veligonda project.

On the Krishna River, on the right bank of the Srisailam Canal, lies the future inlet site for the Pula Subbaiah Veligonda Project. Once complete, the system will draw 1.2 billion cubic meters (317.0 billion gallons) of flood water annually from the foreshore of the Srisailam reservoir.   Two parallel, 19.2 km (11.9 mi) long tunnels will transfer water via a network of five canals to over 1,600 square kilometers (395,368 acres) of farmland in the three districts of Prakasam, Nellore, and Kadapa.  Up to 243 cubic meters per second (64,193 gallons per second) of water will travel through the bored tunnels to a feeder canal.

The Veligonda tunnel No. 2 is located in sedimentary rock on the western margin of the Cuddapah Basin, where a number of faults and folds make for complex geology.  Rock includes quartzite with interbedded shale (60%) and shale with limestone and phyllite (40%) ranging from 90 to 225 MPa (13,000 to 33,000 psi) UCS. Two major faults are present along with some ground water.

Equipment Design

The Double Shield machine utilizes sixty-seven 20-inch diameter back-loading cutters to combat the tough ground conditions. Specially designed drive motors allow the machine to run at a higher than normal RPM, compensating for low penetration rates in the hard rock.  In squeezing ground, the cutter head is also capable of vertical movement allowing for over boring. The machine also has a probe drill which allows for verification of geology 30 m (98 ft) ahead of the TBM.  The drill is capable of 360º rotation and can alternatively serve as a grout consolidation drill.  Large 40 kW (54 hp) dewatering pumps located on the back-up system have been specially designed to pump any water away from the tunnel face. As the TBM bores, it erects 300 mm (12 inch) thick concrete segments in a 6+1 arrangement, making the final tunnel diameter 9.2 m (30 ft).

Muck haulage requires one of the most extensive conveyor systems ever used in India.  The continuous steel cable belt, the longest single flight ever provided by Robbins, will eventually extend 18.8 km and requires four main drives and three booster drives.

Value of Project:
INR 589 Crores
Prakasam District
Andhra Pradesh
Water Resource Department, A P
Award Date
Saptember 2018
Completion Date
September 2019