SCHWANAU (Germany): Engineers from MMC-Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd have conducted testing on the world’s first variable density slurry shield tunnel boring machine.
MMC-Gamuda is the main underground works contractor for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT), which is the largest public infrastructure project in the country.
The test was also witnessed by MRT Corporation, project owner of the 51km Sungai Buloh-Kajang urban rail line, targeted for completion by 2017.
Equipped with a cutterhead measuring 6.67m in diameter, the machine is custom-built to tackle the stretch of karst a type of limestone from Maluri towards Bukit Bintang, along which three of the seven underground MRT stations will be located.
Six such machines, costing around RM400mil, have been ordered by MMC-Gamuda for this difficult terrain while four earth pressure balance machines will be used for the rest of the more predictable sedimentary rock formation.
“Sinkholes and ground subsidence at highly built-up areas are something that we cannot afford. So, we expect these sophisticated machines to help us overcome the challenge,” said Sati Boghal, MMC-Gamuda’s project director for MRT underground works.
The machine was unveiled at the factory of its manufacturer, Herrenknecht AG, among the world’s largest makers of tunnel boring machines, here on Thursday.
It was jointly developed between Herrenknecht and MMC-Gamuda, based on MMC-Gamuda’s experience with the Kuala Lumpur’s Smart Tunnel project a decade ago.
Sati said the test marked yet another milestone in the progress of the underground works.
“Barring any unforeseen circumstance, this machine will arrive in Malaysia by the end of March so that tunnelling can start by the second quarter,” he said.
MRT Corp strategic communications and public relations director Amir Mahmood Razak said it was pleased with the progress of work.
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