Hard Rock TBMs are cutting tunnels through the Pyrenees
Schwanau, Germany / Montesquieu-des-Albères, France, August 27, 2013. The Herrenknecht tunnel boring machines "Canigou" and "Alberas" are compact powerhouses: Equipped with an installed power of 1,250kW, they have a torque of 2,000kNm with a cutterhead diameter of 4.3 meters. The tunnel boring machines have a length of 301 and 253 meters respectively and weigh 620 tonnes. The Double Shield TBMs started at their launch portals in March and October 2012 to excavate and line the 8.2km long tunnel through the hard rock of the Catalan Pyrenees. "Alberas" begun its mission in La Jonquera in Spain. "Canigou" advanced towards its sister machine from Montesquieu-des-Albères in France.
The cross-border power lines that connect Spain with France and the rest of Europe need to be upgraded urgently. The four existing connections do not have sufficient capacities to cope with bottlenecks or to compensate for fluctuations resulting from the use of renewable energy sources. As part of the bi-national project "INELFE" (INterconexión ELéctrica Francia-España) a 64.5km long, ultra-modern high-voltage direct current transmission link (HVDC) is being installed from Baixas, near Perpignan in France to Santa Llogaia near Figueras in Spain. In the tunnel excavated by the two Herrenknecht tunnelling machines, the route passes under the Pyrenees on the Catalan Mediterranean coast.