The undersea tunnel section, a part of the extension project of the Hengqin Line, a light rapid transit route connecting China's Macao Special Administrative Region and the neighboring Hengqin island in Guangdong province, was completed, said its developers.
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Jointly built by State-owned Namkwong Real Estate Co, China Civil Engineering Construction Corp (CCECC), China Railway Siyuan Survey and Design Group and China Railway 16th Bureau Group Corp, the completion of this project marks a breakthrough in Macao's first undersea tunnel project constructed by a tunnel boring machine, or TBM.
TBMs are used to excavate tunnels, subway tubes and sewer lines.
In comparison with traditional tunnel-boring methods like rock drilling, blasting and hand mining in soil, the use of such equipment can minimize the impact on the surrounding ground and produce a smooth tunnel wall, helping certain tunnel projects run through unstable geological conditions.
The total length of this project is about 2.2 kilometers and the shield tunnel section accounts for 906 meters.
With a diameter of 7.98 meters, the "Aoqin No 1". a large shield tunneling machine manufactured by China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Corp in Changsha, Hunan province.— was applied in this project.
It is roughly 87 meters long and weighs around 600 metric tons, according to a statement released by CCECC, a subsidiary of Beijing-headquartered China Railway Construction Corp.
In addition to adopting the double-joint design for ultra-small turning radius, the giant machine is also equipped with a series of smart systems such as advanced geological detection, high-precision gas-liquid equilibrium and visualized soil bin monitoring, which helps ensure engineering security during construction.
Starting from the elevated station HE1, the line is located near the Lotus Bridge in Macao, which is connected to the Lotus Checkpoint Station, part of the Taipa Line.
It runs along the Lotus Bridge and crosses the Shizimen Waterway before entering Hengqin island in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, through an underwater tunnel, and then arrives at the underground HE2 station located in front of Hengqin Port. ■