Jul 26, 2017
The shell of the Belchen rehabilitation tunnel has been completed. Tunnelling ended successfully in Eptingen in the Swiss canton of Basel-Country on June 21, 2017, three months ahead of schedule. The tunnel boring machine (TBM) (diameter 13.91 meters) designed and manufactured specifically for this purpose at the Herrenknecht plant in Schwanau, Germany, excavated 3.2 kilometers of tunnel through complex geology in only 16 months. The new structure is the prerequisite for rapid and economic rehabilitation of the two existing parallel road tunnel tubes.
Under the direction of Marti Tunnelbau AG, commissioned by the Swiss Federal Roads Office FEDRO, the tunnelling crew took only 16 months for the 3.2 kilometer long drive, despite 1-shift operation Mondays to Fridays. As a result, they navigated the TBM through the mountain three months faster than originally planned.
The Belchen Tunnel, which cuts through the Jura Mountains between Basel and Lucerne, is of great importance to the north-south road traffic via Gotthard as well as for domestic Swiss traffic. Currently an average of 55,000 vehicles per day over a length of almost 3.2 kilometers pass through the twin tube road tunnel of the A2 road tunnel with two lanes in each direction. As a result of increasing rock pressure, both tubes are urgently in need of repair to ensure operational safety.
Soft layers of rock alternated with up to 225 MPa hard layers, in places with karstified and water-bearing transition zones. In addition, long sections of squeezing opalinus clay and swelling gypsum keuper had to be passed through. Site manager Sergio Massignani summarized after the breakthrough: "Thanks to the comprehensive knowledge of the ground conditions from the two existing tunnel tubes, coupled with our experience and Herrenknecht's know-how, the machine was optimally designed for the demanding requirements of the alignment of the Belchen rehabilitation tunnel."
When the TBM was launched in February 2016, Jürg Röthlisberger summarized the concept of the project with the words "construction without queues".
Machine type: Single Shield TBM
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