On September 20, 2018, a Ø7.54m CREG tunnel boring machine, Named Fuxing, the last of six CREG EPB TBMs, made its final breakthrough at the Carlibach station for Western Segment of the Red Line of Tel Aviv Light Rail in Israel. On that day, media and invited guests from all involved parties and local peoples were present to witness the massive TBM's breakthrough, marking the end of excavation on the over 11km of running tunnels for Western Segment.
The Western Segment of the Red Line was awarded to the Chinese-Israeli JV composed of the China Railway Tunnel Group (51%) and the Solel Boneh Infrastructure subsidiary of Shikun & Binui Group (49%) announced in May 2015. A total of six CREG EPB TBMs were used to excavate the entire running tunnels of Western Segment of the project which covers 11 km of 5·5 m diameter twin tunnels and six underground stations.
The tunnel alignment passes mainly the unique and abrasive Kurkar formation, which is an aeolian quartz sandstone with carbonate cement. The settlement control is another major concern as TBMs is required to under passing the Igudan pipes, Ayalon Highway, Ayalon River, Israel Railway, Shafa Tal Bridge and dense area of old buildings in Herzel site.
To cope with this, CREG, working closely with the Contractor, the CREG EPBMs have been specifically designed for the ground conditions of the contract. Design features include a 1,600kW VFD electric-driven cutterhead with break-out torque up to 14,000kNm, up to 40 interchangeable cutting tools and 17inch disc cutters, active type articulation for the shield, and a built-in two-liquid backfilling system at the tail of the machine. To deal with the mucking in Herzel highly congested areas, CREG supplied his first innovative vertical shaft belt conveyor and tunnel belt conveyor system for this project. In addition, CREG dispatched a professional service team to train the local workers and render technical assistance, and established a local stock for spare part supply.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Anthony Burchell, Project Director from Parsons Brinckerhoff for the Project Management Consultant of the Red Line, he said, “I am very much impressed by the works CREG contains of the cutterhead design. As you knew soon after it launched at Galei Gil, there is potential piles, reinforced piles. You did a lot of work to design the cutterhead. In the end, work perfectly to cross the piles. There isn’t problems. So I’m very impressive. The reliabilities of the machines is good.”
“With the joint efforts of the project team of CRTG and the technical service team of CREG, all of the six machines finished tunneling successfully and the average machine availability is more than 93%. The best daily rate is 21m (14 rings) and the best monthly rate is 340m (225 rings). The TBMs driving is amazing. The tunnel construction is within the expected settlement”, said Project Manager Mr. Gu Zhonghua of Joint venture of China Railway Tunnel Group and Solel Boneh Infrastructure.
“As the TBM supplier, we CREG are so proud that we could have contributed an important part to the success of this landmark project”, said Mr. Zhuo Yongjun, General Manager of CREG International Division, “From the design stage of this six TBMs, our TBM designers made a lot of site investigations and discussions with all parties, especially on how to deal with the unique KURKAR ground and other challenging points for this project. With this regards, a customized design is applied in our six TBMs with our know-how and proven design on our previous projects. We know that a customized design and quality machine mean a half success of the project. Today's breakthrough we witnessed, it is shown not only the success of our TBM performance, but also a success of great teamwork. We would like to thanks all the tunneling teams on site and our service team. Regarding of your next coming project, CREG is ready to cooperate with you, to render our right solutions and our full professional services to assist your success.”
The Red Line consists of 12 kms of at-grade alignment and 12 kms of underground. There are 10 stations along the underground portion of the alignment, at a distance of approximately 1 km from one to the next. The Red Line is the first of a total of eight planned lines of the Tel Aviv Metro. By 2030, when the city caps its rail transit system, it’s estimated that a total of 1.4 million citizens will take the metro each day in Tel Aviv, a city that accounts for 40 percent of Israel’s population and half of the country’s employment.