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The Bolu Mountain Crossing is midway

between Ankara and Istanbul, and repre-
sents the most challenging section of the
motorway construction. Along this 20 km-
long stretch, four important viaducts and a
long tunnel are under construction.
The Bolu tunnel is a twin-tube motor-
way tunnel of about 3 km length, accom-
modating three lanes per tube, linking the
western Asarsuyu valley to the eastern
Elmalik village, on the Ankara side. The
original design featured five support class-
es in the tunnel, and two at the portals,
with an excavation area ranging between
190 sq m and 260 sq m. The original static
design was by Geoconsult GmbH of
Saltzburg, Austria, and, for the worst rock
condition, involved preliminary excavation
and backfill of bench pilot tunnels, a three-
layer lining, and a deep monolithic invert.
Excavation of the tunnel started in
1993, and, almost immediately, problems
were encountered with clays. When the
Duzce earthquake occurred in 1999, a
stretch of about 350 m of tunnel collapsed
behind the eastern faces, and major
damage was done to the lining and invert
of both tunnels. Consultants Lombardi SA
were brought in to analyze the seismic
loads induced by the earthquake, which
originated at the North Anatolian Fault.
These analyses examined the depth, direc-
tional effects, soil amplifications and dis-
tance from the seismic source, and a panel
of experts was set up to study the results.
Active Faults
Two active faults were recognized
along the tunnel alignment: the Zekidagi
and Bakacak faults (Barka-W Lettis &
The Zekidagi fault dips at almost 90
degrees, is approximately 6 to 8 km-long,
and possibly intersects with the tunnel
alignment at nearly right angles, around
chainage 62+430 in the left tube and
Atlas Copco Boomer drilling over the
face for forepoling.
Plan of Astaldi section of the Istanbul-
Ankara highway.
Seismic Tunnelling at Bolu
Overcoming Natural
The attempt in the mid-nineties at
tunnelling through the Bakacak Fault
near the Turkish town of Bolu was
aborted following the massive earth-
quake in November, 1999. This
caused the collapse of a section of
mined tunnel, which had been exca-
vated with preliminary primary sup-
port of soil nails and shotcrete.
The overall design has been
rethought, and the tunnel is now
again under construction. Seismic
principles have been applied to this
project, which is crucial to comple-
tion of the Gumusova-Gerede section
of the important North Anatolian
Motorway linking Ankara and Istan-
bul. The design criteria have defined
the fault crossing strategy, and the
practical solutions involve the exten-
sive use of Atlas Copco MAI Self
Drilling Anchors (SDA) as primary
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52+350 in the right tube, over a length of
25 m to 30 m. It has a potential for small
future displacement in the range of 0.15-
0.25 in an earthquake of magnitude 6 to
6.25. This section of tunnel was lined
according to the original design, and no
particular problems were experienced
crossing the fault, although high deforma-
tions were recorded.
The Bakacak Fault has been identified
as a secondary fault in the step-over region
between the two major North Anatolian
Fault (NAF) branches in the Bolu region.
This clay fault exhibits low potential for
right lateral strike-slip displacements. It is
some 10-45 km-long, composed of several
segments ranging from 3 to 5 km-long, and
rupture displacements of up to 50 cm can
be expected in an earthquake of magnitude
6.25 to 6.5.
Two likely traces of the Bakacak fault,
which dips at 40 degrees, were identified
crossing the Bolu Tunnel between
chainage 62+800 and 62+900 at the left
tube, and 52+730 to 52+800 at the right
tube, over a distance of about 100 m. This
is precisely the zone where excavation was
proceeding at the time of the earthquake.
Crossing Active Faults
Basically, two strategies are feasible to
mitigate the seismic risk induced to tunnels
by ruptures of active faults across the
alignment. These are commonly referred to
as over-excavation, and articulated design.
In the first case, the tunnel is driven
through the fault with an enlarged cross
section. A double lining is installed, and
filled by a porous material, such as foam
concrete. If there is a fault rupture, the
clearance profile is guaranteed by the gap
between the outer and inner linings. This
manner of protection, commonly used for
metro projects, is limited by the width of
the cross section that must be excavated,
and will be most effective when a fault
rupture is concentrated within a few
The articulated design strategy, on the
other hand, reduces the width of the lining
segments, leaving independent sections
across the fault, and for a distance
beside the fault. In a fault rupture, the
movement is concentrated at the joints
linking the segments, containing any
damage in a few elements, without uncon-
trolled propagation.
The maximum length of any single ele-
ment depends on several factors, such as
width of the cross section, expected move-
ment of the fault, compressibility of the
surrounding soil, and element kinematics.
Articulated design was selected as the
most appropriate for the large cross section
of the Bolu tunnel, and for the excavation
geometry that had already been defined.
Design Philosophy
When the Bakacak fault was recognized as
active, almost one year after the Duzce
event, the restoration of the original tunnel
was almost complete, and the shape and
type of the cross section adopted was
already defined. The bench pilot tunnels of
the original excavation had already been
Standard cross-section of Bolu tunnel
showing massive support.
Shotcrete operations underway in the
top heading.
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The segments geometry was defined by
considering a ratio between length and
width of the tunnel segment equal to one
third, resulting in an element length of
about 5 m. This geometry kept the load on
the single crown segment below an accept-
able threshold value.
For practical reasons, the length of the
segments was reduced to 4.4 m, with a
50 cm joint gap at invert. This facilitated
retention of the original modular reinforce-
ment cage.
Following a fault rupture, the tunnel
will act longitudinally as an embedded
beam, whose extremities are displaced by
the lateral offset of the fault. The assump-
tion made, justified by the geologists, is
that a rupture will be uniformly distributed
across the fault boundaries, with horizontal
displacement. Therefore the shear strain in
the fault soil can be reasonably assumed as
the ratio between expected offset and
width of the fault at tunnel level.
Up to rupture of the joints, the tunnel
will be sheared and bent by the soil as an
embedded beam. Once the joints shear
resistance is attained, each segment will be
free to move independently, according to
external loads.
The maximum acceptable shear resis-
tance of the joint has been defined on an
equivalent elastic model, with soil mod-
elled as springs acting in compression. A
displacement is gradually applied to the
extremities, and the shear stiffness of the
joints is designed so as to reach the shear
failure of the joint before lateral overload
of the element cross section, or bending
failure at extremities.
Reinforcement and Joints
Across the fault zone, different support
measures have been adopted. Of these, the
most important is an 80 cm-thick concrete
40 N/sq mm prefabricated concrete slab
intermediate lining to be installed between
the primary lining and the inner lining. The
reinforcement bars have been placed only
in the inner (final) lining and at invert,
while the shotcrete and intermediate lin-
ings have been fibre-reinforced.
The primary aim of the reinforcement
design is to provide a high ductility to the
lining. The allowable rotation has been
estimated, and compared to the estimated
rotation for the load conditions. This was
achieved by introducing stirrups at shear,
keeping the spacing below 30 cm, and also
by introducing a light dosage of steel fibres
in the concrete mix, or applying an equiva-
lent double mesh layer. These measures
were installed within the fault, and up to a
distance of 30-40 m from the fault borders.
The joints, at 4.2 m spacing, have been
detailed to prevent soil squeezing between
the segments, and to bridge the static soil
pressure to the surrounding elements, but
opposing a sufficiently low shear resis-
tance in the event of fault rupture.
To provide ring closure of the joint at
the invert, a 0.4 m-thick fibre reinforced
shotcrete beam is applied to bridge the
gap. At the crown, the regular 40 cm-thick
shotcrete preliminary lining has been
assessed as sufficient.
The 50 cm-wide joint is filled by two
layers of concrete blocks, with a 10 cm
low density PS layer in between. A water-
proofing membrane is installed below the
concrete block slabs and the invert.
In general, at the crown, three levels of
linings are installed: a shotcrete lining, an
intermediary lining of poured concrete,
and a reinforced final lining. The water-
proofing membrane bridges the seismic
joint gap between intermediary and final
lining. The joint opening in the final lining
has been enlarged to 70 cm, and the gap
will be covered by a steel plate, for the
purposes of ventilation and fire resistance.
The backfilled bench pilot tunnels were
heavily reinforced to provide sufficient
abutment to the crown loads during the
excavation. These beams cannot be inter-
rupted while excavating, so the cutting of
Installing prefabricated concrete slab
intermediate lining.
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the joint in the section can only be executed
once the invert is in place.
Excavation and Support
The Bolu tunnel has been advanced on a
new alignment, which diverts around the
collapsed section. It is being driven from
newly established faces within the aban-
doned tunnel on the Istanbul side. A
150 m-long cut-and-cover section was
completed at the Ankara portals before
excavation work could commence from
this end.
The weathered, faulted amphibolite
rock, with up to 140 m cover, is broken up
by a Krupp hydraulic hammer mounted on
a Cat 235 excavator, then loaded into road
tipper trucks. The 7 m-high top heading is
opened using 30 x 6 m-long forepoles over
the crown, under which three pieces of the
5-piece steel arches are set at 1.1 m
intervals. Then 20 off, 12 m-long anchors,
each comprising 3 x 4 m lengths of Atlas
Copco MAI SDA, are drilled in and grouted
using an Atlas Copco Boomer drillrig. The
roof and sides are given a 40 cm-thick
application of steel fibre reinforced shot-
crete, and a 50 cm-thick steel bar reinforced
shotcrete temporary invert is installed.
The bench is then advanced 2.2 m at
each side, and the legs of the steel arches
are installed, together with bolts and shot-
crete. Two incremental advances of 4.4 m
allow the invert to be excavated 5 m-deep
over the full width of the heading, and this
is filled with mass concrete with two pre-
fabricated steel reinforcement cages. A pur-
pose-built, self-propelled stage conveyor is
used to transfer the concrete from the fleet
of 8 cu m mixer trucks. The invert concret-
ing is maintained within 25 m of the face.
The total excavated area of the tunnel is
160-200 sq m. Where the rock is particu-
larly poor, a 60 cm-thick concrete slab
intermediate lining is installed, and the
annulus backfilled with concrete. This is
followed by a mass concrete in-situ lining,
using 150 sq m x 13.5 m-long self pro-
pelled formworks. The final lining opera-
tion is kept within 75-85 m of the face, to
ensure permanent support as early as pos-
sible. Concrete is supplied from two plants
on site with 80 cu m/h output capacity,
backed by a 350 t cement storage silo.
Where necessary, very-heavy lattice
girders are placed as temporary support,
and these are cut away as soon as suffi-
cient permanent support is in place.
The first tube breakthrough is scheduled
for August, 2005, with the second follow-
ing before the end of the year.
The finished twin-tube tunnel will
accommodate three lanes of traffic in each
direction, with vehicle cross passages at
500 m intervals. I
Atlas Copco is grateful to the management
of the Bolu project for permission to visit
the site, and to Olivio Angelini, Gaetano
Germani and Aziz zdemir of Astaldi for
their help and assistance in preparation of
this article. Reference is made to Design
and Construction of Large Tunnel Through
Active Faults: a Recent Application by
M Russo and W Amberg (Lombardi
Engineering), and G Germani (Astaldi).
General view of the Bolu tunnel face
with invert pouring underway.
Heavy steel reinforcement of the 5 m-deep concrete
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