Dubai’s mega tunnel works on track, estimated completion by 2020

TRME DrainageThe TBMs are expected to arrive in October 2018, and the entire project is on track to be completed in time for the Expo 2020 in Dubai. (Image source: Besix)The construction of a deep tunnel storm water system in Dubai is currently underway by the PORR-Six Construct joint venture for Dubai Municipality

The objective of this project is to collect and convey groundwater and storm water runoff from the Dubai World Central area, which is about 135 sq km, and adjacent communities, about 245 sq km. Two earth pressure balanced tunnel boring machines (EPB TBMs) will excavate a 10-km long tunnel with a boring diameter of 11.05 metres – the biggest TBMs ever utilised in the UAE.

Following detailed and successful tests by PORR tunneling specialists on the two completely assembled TBM´s during the last couple of weeks in the manufacturer´s facilities in China, on 29 July 2018, representatives of the PORR-Six Construct Joint Venture signed the ‘Factory Acceptance Certificates’ together with China Railway Engineering Equipment Group (CREG).

The JV was awarded the tunnel contract by Dubai Municipality on 1 October 2017 and it placed orders for two EPB TBM’s with CREG in November last year.

Christoph Duempelmann, PORR’s project director of the project, and Francois Springuel, Six Construct’s deputy project director, along with Zhang Zhiguo, group director and deputy general manager of CREG, concluded the design and manufacturing phase of the TBMs by signing the “Factory Acceptance Certificate” in front of the two machines.

The Factory Acceptance Tests were attended by senior representatives of Dubai Municipality and the project management consultant, under the leadership of Dubai Municipality project director Jayapregasham Tharamapalan.

Dubai Municipality has a strong vision for Dubai to be smart and sustainable, and the Deep Tunnel Storm Water System being built provides the infrastructure needed to serve Dubai’s growing residential and business communities. The drainage system of the tunnel needs to be strong enough to cope with increasing urbanisation that causes high-level ground water level and rain events, though rare, that can impact the business communities severely. This groundbreaking tunnel will tackle both rainwater and groundwater, and will drain almost 40 per cent of the entire urban area of Dubai and including the flagship project Dubai South, with Al Maktoum International Airport, the Expo 2020 site and several other emerging developments.

Tharamapalan said that the early procurement of the TBMs by the joint venture and timely manufacturing of the TBMs by CREG that met the strict Factory Acceptance Tests form an important milestone in the project. He added that Dubai Municipality is pleased that two brand new machines of this size have been purpose-built in such a short duration of nine months to meet the extremely tight project schedule.

Duempelmann stated that the PORR-Six Construct JV and CREG have been working very hard to meet the tight schedule till date. To finalise negotiations for such long-lead key equipment, and then design and manufacture two completely new TBMs of this scale in only nine months was extremely challenging, and was only achieved due to the great commitment of all parties, the joint venture including PORR technical head office team, the TBM manufacturer, the designer, the project management consultant and Dubai Municipality.

It has been confirmed that works are on track and timely completion before the Expo 2020 will be achieved.

“We are proud to have chosen CREG as our partner for the TBM manufacturing. The track record of CREG introducing EPB TBMs for the tunneling market is very impressive and this, along with the number of TBMs produced, convinced us to order two TBMs for this project,” added Springuel.

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