Details of UAE’s biggest tunnel boring machines revealed

Details of UAE’s biggest tunnel boring machines revealed
The UAE's largest TBMs are coming from China to help build a tunnel that will serve Dubai in time for Expo 2020 [image: Six Construct].
Published: 5 August 2018 - 8:47 a.m.
By: Neha Bhatia

Details have been revealed of the UAE’s biggest tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that are set to arrive at a Dubai Municipality construction site this October from China.

The Deep Tunnel Storm Water System (DTSWS) project is currently under way in the emirate, with a joint venture (JV) of Porr and Six Construct working on the development.

Upon completion, DTSWS will collect and transport groundwater and stormwater runoff from the 135km2Dubai World Central area and adjacent communities, spanning around 245km2.

The project is due to complete ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai, which will be inaugurated on 20 October, 2020.

Two earth pressure-balanced TBMs (EPB TBMs) will excavate a 10km tunnel, with a boring diameter of 11.05m, for the project, making them the largest TBMs ever utilised in the UAE.

The EPB TBMs have been manufactured by China Railway Engineering Equipment Group (CREG). This July, officials from the Porr-Six Construct JV visited CREG’s facilities in China, and signed the factory acceptance certificates for the machines.

Porr’s and Six Construct’s JV was awarded the tunnel contract by Dubai Municipality in October 2017, and the JV placed the order for the two EPB TBMs with CREG last November.

The factory acceptance tests were attended by senior representatives of Dubai Municipality and the project management consultant, under the leadership of Dr Jayapregasham Tharamapalan, project director from the municipality.

Commenting on the UAE’s largest construction TBMs, Tharamapalan said that the JV’s early procurement of the machines, as well as CREG’s timely manufacturing work, marked an important milestone for the project.

He added that the municipality was “pleased that two brand new machines of this size have been purpose-built in [the] short duration of nine months to meet the extremely tight project schedule”.

Officials present at the ceremony included Christoph Duempelmann, project director of DTSWS from Porr, and Francois Springuel, deputy project director from Six Construct. They were joined by Zhang Zhiguo, group director and deputy general manager from CREG.

Remarking on the machines’ development, Duempelmann said: “The Porr-Six Construct JV and CREG have been working very hard to meet the tight schedule.

“To finalise negotiations for such long-lead key equipment, and then design and manufacture two completely new TBMs of this scale in only nine months, is extremely challenging, and was only achieved due to the great commitment of all parties, the JV – including Porr’s technical head office team – the TBM manufacturer, the designer, the project management consultant, and Dubai Municipality.”

Six Construct’s Springuel added: “We are extremely proud to have chosen CREG as our partner for the TBM manufacturing.

“The track record of CREG introducing EPB TBMs for the tunnelling market is very impressive and this, along with the number of TBMs produced, convinced us to order two TBMs for this project.”

Upon completion, the tunnel will manage rainwater and groundwater, draining almost 40% of Dubai’s urban area, including the Dubai South, Al Maktoum International Airport, Expo 2020 Dubai, and other neighbouring localities.

 

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