• TBM Bertha breaks through in Seattle


  • Mighty Hitachi TBM tested before delivery to Seattle


  • Waterview highway tunnel progress and breakthrough
DISCUSSION FORUM Tracking the world's mega-TBMs Sep 2017
TunnelTalk reporting
Recent news and feedback from TunnelTalk readers indicate it is time to update again our list of TBMs of more than 14m diameter that have been used in the world and that are now currently in operation, on order and required for proposed mega TBM diameter tunnel projects.
China continues to lead the way with news of two new 15m+ diameter slurry TBM being manufactured by China TBM manufacturer CREG for double-deck highway tunnel projects in Shenzhen and another 14.1m diameter NFM machine working on the twin tube Lung Shan Tunnel on the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point highway project in Hong Kong. Australia is also preparing to confirm order of the two TBMs of 15.6m diameter to excavate the twin three-lane tunnels for the West Gate highway tunnel project in Melbourne.
As the TBMs for the new orders take shape and the work of mega machines in operation progress towards their breakthroughs, the tunnelling world and the city of Seattle has said farewell to its 17.48m diameter mega TBM Bertha. Supplied by Japanese TBM manufacturer Hitachi Zosen, the last parts of the giant machine have been cut up and lifted from the TBM reception pit after its breakthrough in April this year (2017) and its place in the history of global tunnelling is forever secured.
These developments now update our Table of the world’s mega TBMs as below with remove from the list the mega TBM that was proposed for the Orlovsky highway tunnel project in St Petersburg, Russia, but not manufactured as yet. Should the project be revived and the machine manufactured it would be the largest TBM ever at a proposed diameter of about 19m. A proposed mega TBM of more than 16m diameter for the proposed I-170 highway tunnel link in Los Angeles California is also removed from the list although both projects remain in the reference list of TunnelTalk articles at the foot of the article.
Table 1. List of the mega TBMs of more than 14m in diameter used and currently operating or on order for projects around the world
Start date/
Launch
Country Project
* = TunnelTalk reference article
See References below
TBM manufacturer Diameter
2017 China Shenzhen highway tunnel 1 CREG slurry TBM 15.8m
2017 China Suai highway tunnel, Shenzhen 1 CREG slurry TBM 15.3m
2017 Australia Melbourne West Gate Highway* In procurement 15.6m
2017 China Suai highway tunnel, Shenzhen 1 CREG slurry TBM 15.3m
2017 Japan Tokyo Outer Ring Road Kan-etsu to Tomei* 4 machines
1 Kawaski, 3 JIM
16.1m
2017 China Shanghai Zhuguang Road Tunnel 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield
Ex Auckland Waterview TBM
14.41m
2016 China Shanghai Yanjiang A30 Motorway 2 Herrenknecht Mixshields
Ex Shanghai Changjiang under river project
15.43m
2016 China Shanghai Bei Heng Motorway 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield 15.53m
2016 China Zhuhai Hengqin Tunnel 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield
Ex Shanghai Hongmei Road Tunnel TBM
14.90m
2016 Italy Santa Lucia Highway Tunnel,
A1 near Firenze
*
1 Herrenknecht EPBM 15.87m
2015 Hong Kong Lung Shan Tunnel* 1 NFM TBM 14.1m
2015 Hong Kong Tuen Mun - Chek Lap Kok
subsea highway link
*
1 Herrenknecht Mixshield 17.6m
2015 Hong Kong Liantang Highway Project NFM machine 14.1m
2015 China Wuhan Metro road/metro river crossing* 2 Herrenknecht Mixshields 15.76m
2013 China Shouxhiou Lake Highway Tunnel 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield
Ex-Nanjing Machine
14.93
2013 Italy Caltanissetta highway tunnel, Sicily* 1 NFM Technologies 15.08m
2011 China Shanghai West Changjiang Yangtze River Road Tunnel 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield
Ex-Shanghai Changjiang highway Project
15.43m
2013 New Zealand Waterview highway connection, Auckland* 1 Herrenknecht EPBM 14.41m
2011 USA Alaskan Way highway replacement tunnel* 1 Hitachi Zosen EPBM 17.48m
2011 China Weisan Road Tunnel, Nanjing* 2 IHI/Mitsubishi/CCCC slurry TBMs 14.93m
2012 China Shanghai Hongmei Road 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield 14.93m
2011 Italy A1 Sparvo highway tunnel* 1 Herrenknecht EPBM 15.55m
2010 Spain Seville SE-40 Highway Tunnels* 2 NFM Technologies EPBMs 14.00m
2010 China Hangzhou Qianjiang Under River Tunnel 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield Ex-Shanghai Changjiang highway tunnel Project 15.43m
2009 China Yingbinsan Road Tunnel, Shanghai 1 Mitsubishi EPBM Ex-Bund Tunnel machine 14.27m
2008 China Nanjing Yangtze River Tunnel* 2 Herrenknecht Mixshields 14.93m
2007 China Bund Tunnel, Shanghai 1 Mitsubishi EPBM 14.27m
2006 China Jungong Road Subaqueous Tunnel, Shanghai 1 NFM slurry shield Ex-Groenehart machine 14.87m
2006 China Shanghai Changjiang under river highway tunnel 2 Herrenknecht Mixshields 15.43m
2006 Canada Niagara Water Diversion Tunnel* 1 Robbins hard rock gripper TBM
Rebuilt Manapouri tailrace tunnel machine
14.4m
2005 Spain Madrid Calle 30 Highway Tunnels 2 machines
1 Herrenknecht, 1 Mitsubishi
15.2m
15.0m
2004 Russia Moscow Silberwald Highway Tunnel 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield
Ex-Elbe project machine
14.2m
2004 China Shangzhong Road Subacqueous Tunnel, Shanghai 1 NFM Technologies
Ex-Groenehart machine
14.87m
2004 Japan Tokyo Metro 1 IHI EPBM 14.18m
2001 Russia Moscow Lefortovo Highway Tunnel* 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield
Ex-Elbe project machine
14.2m
2000 The Netherlands Groenehart double-track rail tunnel 1 NFM Technologies 14.87m
1997 Germany Hamburg 4th Elbe River Highway Tunnel* 1 Herrenknecht Mixshield 14.2m
1994 Japan Trans Tokyo Bay Highway Tunnel* 8 machines
3 Kawasaki, 3 Mitsubishi, 1 Hitachi, 1 IHI
14.14m
* TunnelTalk reference below.
To keep the record up to date, please do let us know via our Contact Us service of any new mega TBM projects in the planning and added to the discussion about the possible limitations or potential for TBMs of increasingly large dimension.
References
Mega slurry TBM for Shenzhen highway link - TunnelTalk, September 2017
TBM u-turn and relaunch in Hong Kong - TunnelTalk, August 2017
Two mega-TBMs for Melbourne highway tunnel - TunnelTalk, April 2017
Single bore solution for LA freeway missing link - TunnelTalk, May 2017
Mega TBMs begin Tokyo ring road drives - TunnelTalk, May 2017
China's mega Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao sea link moves forward - TunnelTalk, June 2011
Bosphorus Eurasia highway TBM breaks through - TunnelTalk, August 2015
Mega-EPBM for Italian highway tunnel - TunnelTalk, September 2016
Sparvo mega-TBM system available for new project - TunnelTalk, September 2014
Hong Kong awards major undersea highway - TunnelTalk, September 2013
Mega-TBMs for China double-deck link - TunnelTalk, May 2014
Video: Addressing Bertha's bearing seal issues in Seattle - TunnelCast, February 2014
'Yes' to bored tunnel alternative in Seattle - TunnelTalk, August 2011
Mega-TBM order is NFM's biggest ever - TunnelTalk, January 2013
Technical parameters of Seattle's mega EPBM - TunnelTalk, Dec 2012
Mega-EPBM naming ceremony at Hitachi Zosen - TunnelCast, December 2012
New Zealand joins the mega-TBM tunnelling set - TunnelTalk, August 2011
Russia confirms order for largest TBM ever - TunnelTalk, Aug 2011
A second mega-TBM river crossing for Nanjing - TunnelTalk, Aug 2011
Robbins TBM rolls into hard rock history - TunnelTalk, May 2011
Nanjing Highway Tunnels - TunnelTalk, Sept 2009
Seville SE-40 Highway Tunnels - TunnelTalk, April 2010
Giant TBM accepted and heading for Italy - TunnelTalk, Dec 2010
Seattle Alaskan Way bored highway tunnel - TunnelTalk, Oct 2009
Speedy mega TBM for Moscow Lefortovo highway - TunnelTalk, Oct 2002
4th Elbe tube inspires cutting edge technology - TunnelTalk, Jan 2000
Tokyo Bay highway engages eight mega TBMs - TunnelTalk, August 1994

Feedback

UK contributor, name withheld by request

It is hard to say when the era of the mega-machine started. There was a time when 10m in diameter was considered the largest likely, or indeed possible. But whatever was once considered the technological limit for the size of TBMs, there are now many dozens of machines exceeding the 10m diameter size. This, of course, increases the benchmark for current mega-machine criteria. The need for ever-larger diameters is driven by the demand for ever-larger diameter tunnels able to incorporate extra and wider traffic lanes for heavy freight trucks as well as cars. Larger diameter bores are also needed to accommodate the latest in multi-modal transportation tunnels which will house both road and rail services as well as pedestrian and cycle-ways and perhaps also utility corridors.

Discussions in the past have considered the manufacture of the main bearing a limiting factor but these can now be designed and delivered in sections. Precision machining and welding has these vital components of the new mega-machines completed and built into them on site. A limit to the size and load of a single component to job sites was also considered a controlling barrier but first time on-site assembly, as promoted by Robbins in particular, overcomes some of these limitations.

Another consideration, as explained by Yasunori Kondo San at Kawasaki in Japan, is application of the thrust needed to advance such mega machines. For soft ground TBMs this force is applied directly to the precast concrete segments of the tunnel lining. These, as well as the number and size of the thrust rams around the perimeter of the machines, must be designed to take and deliver the powerful forces needed to move a mega-machine forward. There is a controlling factor on the number and power of the thrust rams needed to apply the force, as well as the surface area and ability of the precast concrete lining segments to accept the load.

Other considerations will be explored and added to the Discussion Forum as they are contributed.

           

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