Nepal will welcome its first TBM ever this summer, a 5.06 m (16.6 ft) diameter double shield machine for the Bheri Babai Diversion Multi-purpose Project (BBDMP). The Robbins TBM underwent its Factory Acceptance Testing in July 2017 and is currently being shipped to the jobsite in the Siwalik Range, part of the Southern Himalayan Mountains.
Pre-construction, including laying gravel onto rural roads and excavating wells for drinking water, has been completed to make way for the TBM and its impending launch.
The BBDMP is one of Nepal’s 11 National Pride Projects–prioritised plans sanctioned by the Government of Nepal to further develop the mainly rural country. This project will irrigate 60,000 hectares (almost 15,000 acres) of land in the southern region of Nepal, benefiting an estimated 30,000 households. It will divert 40 cu m of water (1,400 cu ft) per second from Bheri River to Babai River under a head of 150 m (492 ft) using a 15 m (49 ft) tall dam, providing year-round irrigation in the surrounding Banke and Bardia districts. The water will also be used for hydroelectricity, with a generating capacity of 48 MW benefiting the country with NPR 2 billion ($20 million) annually.