Single Shield TBM to repair World's Longest Tunnel
Mar 29, 2017
Specialized TBM will work below the Hudson River on the Delaware Aqueduct
Over the span of two days in February, representatives from the owner New York Department of Environmental Protection (NYDEP), consultant McMillen Jacobs (MJ), and JV contractor Kiewit-Shea Constructors (KSC) traveled to the Robbins facility in Solon, Ohio to witness the Factory Acceptance Testing of the custom tunnel boring machine.
Investigations of the Delaware Aqueduct dating back more than a decade revealed cracks in the tunnel lining. While several inspections with an automated underwater vehicle showed that these cracks were stable, it was determined they could not be fixed from within the existing tunnel. New York City then decided that a new tunnel would be built under the river to bypass the leakage.
To build a bypass tunnel around the aqueduct’s leaking section, Robbins manufactured the 6.8 m (21.6 ft) diameter Single Shield TBM to safely seal against pressures up to 30 bar, and to operate in variable hard rock conditions.
Due to the challenges presented by the Aqueduct Repair, such as difficult geology and considerable water inflows, the TBM had to be designed accordingly. Difficult Ground Solutions (DGS) features, including powerful drilling, grouting, and water inflow control systems have been incorporated into the machine’s design to overcome the expected challenges.
Robbins Project Manager Martino Scialpi further noted that, “the TBM was designed with a 9,500 liter/min (2,500 gallon/min) dewatering capacity. The machine is equipped with two drills in the shields for drilling through the head in 16 different positions and a third drill on the erector to drill through the shields in an additional 14 positions. Drilling and pre-excavation grouting will be a routine job to control and minimize water inflows.”
In order to provide access to launch and retrieve tunneling equipment, two deep shafts were constructed in the towns of Newburgh and Wappinger, New York, where the bypass will begin and end. The project site itself poses challenges to the assembly and launch of the TBM because of the limited space available.
Robbins worked closely with KSC to ensure that TBM components were designed and sized so all could be lifted with the contractor’s hoist system and fit down the narrow, 270 m (885 ft) deep shaft. Once assembled, the machine is expected to begin boring in autumn 2017.
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The Robbins Company
29100 Hall Street
OH 44139 Solon
+1 (0) 253 872 4490