First TBM launches on Panama metro drive Feb 2012
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
- The first of two Herrenknecht TBMs has been launched as excavation of Panama City's Metro Line 1 gets under way.
- The country's President Ricardo Martinelli powered up the 9.77m diameter TBM at a launch ceremony in January. The ceremony marked the beginning of the northward drive from the Trinchera Sur portal to a central shaft along the alignment's 7.18km length at what will be the new Inglesia del Carmen Station (Fig 1).
- A spokesman for Brazilian contractor Odebrecht, which won the US$1.45 billion contract in JV with Construcciones y Contratas of Spain, told TunnelTalk: "Two Herrenknecht TBMs are being used for the tunnelling work, the second of which we expect to launch in April on a southward drive from the Trinchera Norte portal to link with the northern drive at Inglesia del Carmen Station. Both drives should be complete by December this year (2012)."
- The Linea Uno JV bid beat off competition from the Grupo Italiano Metro Panama JV, comprising Italian firms Impregilo, Astaldi and Ghella. The contract is Panama's second largest after the $5.25 billion Panama Canal Expansion Project.
- Odebrecht is anticipating an average progress rate of 16m/day, and will use 4,049 precast concrete segments during construction of the 8.7m i.d. twin track running tunnel.
- In addition to 7.18km of tunnelling, Phase 1 of the project also includes the construction of a number of new stations on the route from Albrook in the city centre to Los Andes in the north. There is also 1.19km of cuttings and 5.28km of elevated track.
- Phase 2 will add a short above-ground extension from Los Andes to San Isidro. Meanwhile Odebrecht confirmed it will be bidding for the planned Line 2, which is due to go into a design phase later this year following a passenger demand study.
- This eastern running section, which will connect with Line 1 at San Miguelito, is planned to be elevated along its entire length (Fig 2).
- The Odebrecht spokesman said: "We will certainly be bidding for Line 2 but no timetable is set as yet for that process to begin."
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