The first tunnel boring machine (TBM) will start digging a tunnel for the Tel Aviv light rail red line next Sunday, four months ahead of schedule. The tunnel will begin at the Galei Gil site at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in Ramat Gan in the direction of the Arlosorov railway station on the other side of the Ayalon Highway, and southward from there to the Shaul Hamelech, Yehudit Boulevard, and Carlebach stations. When this machine finishes the first 100 meters of the tunnel, another machine will start digging a parallel tunnel on the same route, so that the ground remains stable. The planned digging rate is 10 meters a day.
The 12-kilometer tunnels will be dug at a depth of 30 meters, stretching from Kiryat Arie in Petah Tikva to Herzl Street, corner of Lilienblum Street in Tel Aviv. A total of eight machines are slated to go into operation by the end of the year. Four of them will set out from Galei Gil, two in each direction. Two will start from the light rail operational area in Kiryat Arie via Em Hamoshavot Road, and westward from there on Jabotinsky Road, until they meet the machines coming from Galei Gil at the Ben Gurion station on the border between Bnei Brak and Ramat Gan. The machines coming from Galei Gil in the direction of Tel Aviv will reach the Carlebach station, where the will meet the machines coming from Herzl Street.
Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz noted that the Tel Aviv light rail project is likely to revolutionize the transportation situation in the Greater Tel Aviv area. "I ordered the project to go ahead two years ago, after years of postponements and delays. Work on building the rail is now being conducted at full speed… The light rail vision in metropolitan Tel Aviv, which many doubted, is now becoming a reality."
The TBMs are being assembled on site by 200 workers and engineers of CRTG, a Chinese tunneling company. Each machine weights 900 tons, is 115 meters long, and has a 7.5-meter diameter. 20 workers are inside each TBM at any given time during the tunneling, making it like a mobile factory, with a conveyor belt for taking the earth back out of the tunnel, a robot system for lining the tunnel walls with concrete rings, a bathroom, and a room that the workers can enter in the event of a disaster until they are rescued.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on February 15, 2017
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