Designing TBMs for subsea tunnels

  • Duhme, Ruben (Research and Development, Herrenknecht Tunneling Equipment Co.) ;
  • Tatzki, Thorsten (Herrenknecht Asia Headquarters Pte. Ltd.)
  • Received : 2015.09.30
  • Accepted : 2015.10.21
  • Published : 2015.11.30


Recent years have shown great advances in the feasibility of long subsea tunnels. Projects such as the Channel Tunnel, the Stoerebelt Tunnel or the Bosporus Crossing have pushed the boundaries of TBM tunneling technology and fueled the work on feasibility studies for even more challenging projects such as crossing the Qiongzhou or Gibraltar Straits. There are numerous geotechnical challenges such as wide variations of ground conditions, high operation pressures or long tunnel distances and finally geological uncertainties which must be solved in order to attempt such projects. Several operational challenges such as large muck quantities interventions under difficult conditions and long transport distances also have to be tackled. TBM manufacturer and construction industry have developed a number of approaches to these challenges which point into the right technical direction and have been proven successfully in recent experiences. Their further development will allow attempting several megaprojects which are currently under discussion.



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