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Tunnel Boring

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)

TBM Model for HRBT

Pictured above: model of TBM that will bore the new twin tunnels at the HRBT

The Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) is the technology to be used to bore new twin tunnels next to the existing Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel. Hampton Roads Connector Partners (HRCP), the project's joint construction venture, awarded a contract to Herrenknecht of Germany for construction of the TBM. It will take approximately 14 months to build the 46-feet-high machine, approximately four months to ship it from Germany, and another four-to-five months to assemble the TBM on the HRBT's South Island in a 65-foot pit. 

The TBM is longer than a football field.  As you can see from the picture of the TBM's cutterhead (pictured below), the machine is about the height of the HRBT Project Office, which is a four-story building.  The price tag for the TBM alone is $101 million which includes construction, shipping and assembly costs.

TBM Scale to BuildingPictured above: Scale of the TBM next to the HRBT Headquarters

The TBM will launch from the South Island (Norfolk side), and bore (work) at a rate of about 50 feet per day until it reaches the layer of soil known as the Yorktown layer, approximately 50 feet below the current tunnels. The TBM excavates the tunnels with a circular cross section through the soil.  The process will take more than two years. Built specifically for the HRBT Expansion Project, the TBM will be a central component of the project.  

The existing ten tunnels in Hampton Roads are immersed tubes. Advances in tunnel technology make the bored-tunnel approach desirable for the expansion project. The method has fewer environmental impacts and does not disrupt Navy, marine, or commercial traffic in the busy federal channel.

Tunneling is expected to begin in early 2022.

TBM Construction in Germany
Pictured above: TBM under construction at Herrenknecht in Germany

TBM Naming Contest - LAUNCHED!

It’s Big. It’s Bold. It Needs A Name!
The HRBT Expansion Project has launched the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Naming Contest! The contest opened to middle school students in Hampton Roads. The TBM will  bear the name of the winning submission! For details, visit www.HRBTExpansion.org/NameTheTBM

TBM at Work - A Video Simulation of the Boring Process

 

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