Water Seepage Disrupts Tohid Tunnel Traffic

Water Seepage Disrupts Tohid Tunnel Traffic  Water Seepage Disrupts Tohid Tunnel Traffic

For the third time over the past two years, water flow in Tehran’s Tohid Tunnel stopped traffic in the sprawling capital city, forcing the police to close its north-south lane temporarily on Sunday morning.

The heavy water flow that impeded vehicle movement apparently stemmed from leakage in a pipeline that carried water to the fountain in Jomhouri Square, less than a mile above the tunnel’s southern entrance, news outlets reported.

“The leakage in the tunnel was caused by cracks in two of the pipelines and lack of proper insulation,” Colonel Hassan Abedi, deputy traffic police chief told ILNA.

“We had to close the tunnel due to severe water seepage from upper layers of the tunnel into the passageway,” said Colonel Morad Moradi, the head of information center at the Traffic Police department, Borna News Agency reported.

Several hours later however, the tunnel in south Tehran was reopened.

Minor structural damages such as cracks have surfaced on a regular basis in the Middle East’s third longest urban tunnel since its inauguration.

Built in 2009 “as a solution for the capital’s treacherous traffic,” it had broken the tunnel construction record by opening in less than 30 months.

Last June, news agencies reported that deep cracks appearing on the tunnel ceiling had caused water leakage and expressed concern over the tunnel’s safety.

The 3-km long tunnel was closed for a while to insulate the cracks as a temporary solution. Engineers blame the low quality of concrete and their efforts to fix the problem have been in vain as water seepage has resurfaced again and again.

Head of the Transportation Committee of the Tehran City Council, Eqbal Shakeri, had said in September that “there was no reason for concern since there are no technical problems.”

He promised that insulating the tunnel would be taken up on priority.

 TM’s Lame Excuses

The Tehran Municipality insists that the matter is insignificant. But several councilors, including Shakeri, call it a “calamity” and have now asked for the firm that undertook the tunnel project to be blacklisted and banned from development projects.

“The contractor has committed a major violation in insulation standards and must be prevented from repeating similar mistakes on other urban construction projects,” Shakeri stressed.

“An official letter will be sent to the Tehran Municipality as well as the Management and Planning Organization to put the firm’s name on the blacklist.”

The unidenfied company, already in a financial dispute with the TM has refused to undertake restoration until such time that the debts are settled.