Officials in front of one of the TBMs that will work on a deep tunnel stormwater system.

Officials in front of one of the TBMs that will work on a deep tunnel stormwater system.

Mega TBMs for Dubai’s stormwater system work

September 2018

Construction work of a deep tunnel stormwater system in Dubai currently being carried out by a joint venture of Porr-Six Construct is expected to get a boost with the arrival of two huge earth pressure balanced tunnel boring machines (EPB TBMs) in October 2018.

This prestigious project for Dubai Municipality aims to collect and convey groundwater and stormwater runoff from the Dubai World Central area (about 135 sq km) and adjacent communities (about 245 sq km).

The two EPB TBMs will excavate a 10-km-long tunnel with a boring diameter of 11.05 m – the biggest TBMs ever utilised in the UAE, says Six Construct.

An earth pressure balanced TBM ... set to arrive in Dubai in October.

An earth pressure balanced TBM ... set to arrive in Dubai in October.

Following recent detailed and successful tests by Porr’s tunnelling specialists on the two completely assembled TBMs in the manufacturer’s facilities in China, representatives of the Porr-Six Construct joint venture signed the “factory acceptance certificates” with the China Railway Engineering Equipment Group (CREG), the manufacturer.

 The joint venture was awarded the tunnel contract by Dubai Municipality on October 1, 2017 and it placed orders for two EPB TBMs with CREG in November last year.

The drainage system of the tunnel needs to be strong enough to cope with increasing urbanisation that causes high-level groundwater level and seasonal rain – though rare – that can impact the business communities severely. This ground-breaking tunnel will tackle both rainwater and groundwater, and will drain almost 40 per cent of the entire urban area of Dubai, including the flagship Dubai South with projects such as Al Maktoum International Airport, the Expo 2020 site and several other emerging developments.

Christoph Duempelmann of Porr, project director of the deep tunnel stormwater system project, and Francois Springuel of Six Construct, deputy project director, together with Zhang Zhiguo, group director and deputy general manager of CREG, amongst other attendees, concluded the design and manufacturing phase of the TBMs by signing the Factory Acceptance Certificate in front of the two mega-machines.

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

 Dubai Municipality has a strong vision for Dubai to be smart and sustainable, and the deep tunnel storm water system being built provides the infrastructure needed to serve Dubai’s growing residential and business communities.

  Dr Tharamapalan says the early procurement of the TBMs by the joint venture and timely manufacturing of the TBMs by CREG that met the strict factory acceptance tests form an important milestone in the project. He adds that Dubai Municipality is pleased that two brand new machines of this size have been purpose-built in such a short duration of nine months to meet the extremely tight project schedule.

 Duempelmann confirms: “The Porr-Six Construct joint venture and CREG have been working very hard to meet the tight schedule till date. 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 joint venture including Porr technical head office team, the TBM manufacturer, the designer, the project management consultant and Dubai Municipality.”

 Duempelmann adds that works are on track and timely completion before the Expo 2020 will be achieved.

 “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,” says Springuel.  

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