The 9km Gudauri Tunnel is one of five on the new 23km-long road between Kvsheti and Kobi – also known as the North-South Corridor KK Highway.

The China Railway Tunnel Group is building the 10km Lot 1 section of the dual carriageway, which includes the Gudauri Tunnel. The new highway will reduce the distance between the two centres by 11km and connect mountain villages in the Greater Caucasus range that often have no road access during the winter.

The 15.09m diameter TBM was named Caucasus after the mountain range it bored through. It is 182m long, weighs 3,900 tons and has a maximum thrust of 22,600 tons and a total power of 9,900kW. Its maximum monthly advance was 426m.

The breakthrough ceremony was attended by Georgia’s prime minister Irakli Kobakhidze.