Robust Rock Machine is a Workhorse of the TBM World
Nov 11, 2015
Robbins Main Beam ramps up at Mid-Halton Outfall Tunnel
The machine’s latest endeavor will not be without challenges. The rebuilt TBM has been beefed up for high-capacity tunneling in hard rock. Geology is expected to consist of laminated shale with interbedded limestone and siltstone layers and a maximum rock strength of 120 MPa UCS. “We have kept this a simple, streamlined Main Beam machine, but we modified the cutterhead with larger muck buckets, so material can be moved through it faster,” explained Robbins Project Manager Lynne Stanziale. In addition the TBM was outfitted with fully modernized VFDs, electronics, and high-capacity gearing and motors. The back-up system was also modified to make it more mobile through two 130 m (427 ft) radius curves that the TBM will have to navigate, one in each direction.
Contractor STRABAG, who has had several projects in Canada including the epic Niagara Tunnel project, is in charge of the works. In addition to the tunnel, STRABAG had to construct two deep shafts for the launch and exit of the TBM. The scheme involves two sections of tunnel designed to carry treated effluent water from a treatment plant in Oakville into Lake Ontario. The completed system will upgrade water treatment capacity in the Halton Region of Ontario.
Management of water inflows is not the only challenge. A portion of the drive will curve to run directly under Lake Ontario for 2.1 km (1.3 mi), though the tunnel is deep enough that it will remain in bedrock. Once the machine has completed its final bore under Lake Ontario, it will be backed out of the blind heading and removed from an 8.0 m (26 ft) diameter shaft in a local park.
“We can already see the potential performance that this TBM will have, once fully assembled and tested. We look forward to the continued support and cooperation with our partner Robbins on this endeavor,” said Zoller. Though the TBM has only recently started up, crews are moving forward with a plan to line the tunnel with mesh panels and ring beams if necessary. A cast-in-place liner will follow on after tunneling is completed in August 2017.
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