Sochi winning on the Olympics alpine route Feb 2012
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
It is an Olympian tunnelling task and Sochi last week celebrated final breakthrough of its two large diameter TBMs on the new road and rail routes into the mountains where the XXII 2014 Winter Olympics will be staged.
Figs 1 and 2. Parallel road and rail route into the mountains

Figs 1 and 2. Parallel road and rail route into the mountains

Providing smooth and quick transport to the sporting venues for athletes and spectators has required construction of a parallel road and rail link from Adler on Russia's Black Sea coast near host city Sochi, to the Krasnaya Polyana resort in the mountains. The new 49km long route runs alongside and mostly on the left bank of the Mzymta River, with the road running through single tube bi-directional tunnels and rail services operating on both single and double tracks.
The new transportation links have required 32.3km of tunnelling, excavated using a variety of techniques and methods (Fig 1 and 2). Six tunnel groups are included on the route. These comprise:
• six railway tunnels with total length 10,960m;
• three road tunnels of a total 6,810m;
• four service tunnels with a combined total of 11,021m;
• and a further 3,500m of auxiliary underground openings for services in the tunnels
"The longest tunnel group in the line," explained Tim Shulgin, Public Relations Manager for the project, "is Tunnel System 3. This comprises:
• the 3,169m long road tunnel, excavated using a 10.6m diameter Herrenknecht TBM;
• the parallel single track rail tunnel of 4,564m long, excavated by a 10m diameter SELI-Lovat double shield RM 394 TBM; and
• service tunnel No 2 at 3,197m long and its associated service tunnel No 2-bis at 2,630m long."

Final excavation breakthrough by the last two TBMs on Tunnel System 3

On Wednesday last week (February 15, 2012), the contractor for the entire route, the SK Most group of companies, celebrated the completion of all excavation with the final breakthrough of the two large diameter TBMs for the Tunnel 3 complex. A group of high powered visitors and special guests joined workers and company officials to watch the Herrenknecht machine and its parallel partner, the Lovat-SELI machine, emerge after long drives through, at times, difficult fractured and faulted geological conditions.
"This is a significant event in our years of effort towards providing top-class transportation for the many visitors and athletes to Sochi and the Krasnaya Polyana ski area," said Anatoly Moroz, Chief Engineer of Bamtonnelstroy, the SK Most company responsible for construction of the project's many tunnels.
A total six TBMs contributed to the excavations including a further three Lovat TBMs. These machines, at 5.9m, 4.3m, and 6.2m in diameter, worked on different lengths of the service tunnel headings. A second 13.2m diameter Herrenknecht machine completed road tunnel 5.
NATM work for the type A, C and D tunnels for main traffic and service tunnel headings were excavated using Alpine Miner АМ-75 roadheaders. All TBM headings have precast concrete segmental linings.
Along with the tunnel sets on this remarkable complex of mountain transportation, there are 28 bridges, 28 two-level and 59 overhead viaducts, and three new railway stations with three existing stations renovated to match the high standard of the new infrastructure.
Among the special guests: Russia's Vice President Dmitriy Kozak who is responsible for the Olympics 2014 event (center); Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways (left); and Oleg Toni, Vice President of Russian Railways (right)

Among the special guests: Russia's Vice President Dmitriy Kozak who is responsible for the Olympics 2014 event (center); Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways (left); and Oleg Toni, Vice President of Russian Railways (right)

According to the construction schedule approved by The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the entire project will take no more than five years, with the Adler-Alpika-Servis road route commissioned and in operation not later than in the second quarter of 2013.
Project owner DKCRC-Sochi, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, is managing to keep the wide scale, wide variety, and multi-construction operations on track to meet a June 2013 target completion for all the works, well ahead of the Winter Olympics in 2014.
As well as improving transportation links, the host city Sochi, in collaboration with a fully committed Russian Federal Government, has invested billions in preparing the Black Sea port resort for the world class Winter Olympics event.
In addition to the alpine access route, the national highway along the seashore has been upgraded. This included substantial tunnel excavations in its own right.
Five heavy-duty T3.20 Aker Wirth roadheaders completed most of the excavations on a new bypass around the city and on a new main road passing through and mainly underneath the city's centre. These projects alone involved constructing no less than 15 tunnels and a number of bridges and fly-overs.
It has been a boom time for tunnelling in Sochi, and the Olympics event in 2014 will run all the more smoothly and impressively for it.
LOVAT's Olympic gold - TunnelTalk, May 2009
TBM sees the light in Sochi - TunnelTalk, March 2011
Roadheaders untangling Sochi traffic jams - TunnelTalk, March 2009

Further to the story:
Two of the TBMs used on the project are in fact refurbished Robbins TBMs. The 10m double-shield machine that excavated the 4,564m rail tunnel for the Tunnel System 3 started its working life as a new Robbins machine as did the 6.2m TBM used for the3,197m System 3 service tunnel. Once refurbished and delivered to the project by Lovat-SELI, Robbins was contracted to supply service and technical support in the mobilization, operation and maintenance of the equipment. This included the supply of critical spare parts for continual TBM operation.

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