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September 2014
Volume 66    Issue 9

The greatest challenges in TBM tunneling: Experiences from the field

Mining Engineering, 2014, Vol. 66, No. 9, pp. 127-127
Clark, Jim; Chorley, Steve


PREVIEW:

Tunnel boring machine (TBM) tunneling is an ever-increasing prospect for underground construction, and, with each new tunnel bored, there are unknown elements. When boring through the earth, even extensive geotechnical baseline reports can miss fault lines, water inflows, squeezing ground, rock bursting and other types of extreme conditions. This article draws on the considerable field service experience within Robbins to analyze successful methods of dealing with the most challenging conditions encountered.

Many tunnel projects are located in areas with relatively poor access along the tunnel alignment and bored under extremely high overburden. These two factors often result in limited geological information. It would be reasonable to state that the deeper the tunnel, the greater the level of uncertainties. When faced with these uncertainties everyone involved with the project including the owner, the contractor and the machine supplier must be prepared to tackle geological surprises. This article describes the problematic geological conditions and associated difficulties faced on three separate projects and the measures that were taken to overcome these difficulties. 



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