Emscher Sewage System

Faster than planned thanks to around-the-clock support

The task

Realization of the major project Emscher Sewage System is a prerequisite for improving the water quality of the lowland river in the Ruhr region. The depth of up to 40 meters is technically complex but has many advantages. For example, roads and railway lines or the Rhine-Herne Canal and its sluices can be easily passed under. For the core element of the channel, section BA 40, a 10-kilometer twin-tube system is to be built with mechanized tunnelling using segmental lining and with an interior tunnel diameter of only 2.6 meters. Owing to the extremely confined space – the twin tubes are among the smallest segmental tunnels in the world – the contractor PORR is relying on service support from Herrenknecht for tunnelling.

  • Project name: Emscher Sewage System (construction phase BA 40)
  • Application: Sewage
  • Tunnel length per TBM: 10,083 m (3 drives of 3,286, 4,112 and 2,685 m)
  • Geology: Emscher marl (clay, sand, grit), possibly duckweed
  • Contractor: PORR Bau GmbH
  • Construction time plan: December 2013 – June 2018
  • Ready to bore: 08.28.2014 (M-1856M) and 09.23.2014 (M-1857M)
  • Final breakthrough: July 2017 (almost 1 year sooner than planned)
  • Machine type: 2x EPB Shield
  • Excavation diameter: 3,397 mm
  • Tunnel lining: Segmental lining (ID tunnel: 2.6 m)

The Herrenknecht service solution

The small tunnel cross-section of only 2.6 meters means unconventional tunnelling, particularly in terms of safety and logistics. This is compounded by the technically complex tunnel routing with several curve radii, some of them tight at up to 200 meters, as well as Emscher marl, a geology comprising clay, sand and grit, which causes very high torques during excavation. Consequently, PORR, a long-term and experienced customer, orders around-the-clock support for the entire tunnelling route. At least one service technician or supervisor is available to offer tunnelling support during each shift. On commencing tunnelling, customer personnel is also trained specially for the project requirements associated with the Emscher Sewage System and there are joint efforts at finding the ideal tunnelling parameters. The construction project benefits tremendously from these measures. Average machine availability over the entire tunnelling route of 20 kilometers is more than 95%, resulting in outstanding top values of up to 177 meters per week and up to 582 meters per month. Accordingly, tunnelling can be completed a year ahead of schedule.

Project advantages

  • Thanks to good collaboration between the experienced customer and experienced service experts from Herrenknecht, tunnelling runs very smoothly despite difficult project conditions.

  • Around-the-clock support provided by Herrenknecht ensures optimized tunnelling, very high machine availability and therefore a significantly shorter project term.

  • Thanks to service support provided by VMT in sections of the route which are difficult to navigate, the extremely small curve radii can be safely overcome.

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Steffen Dubé President and General Manager Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA Inc.
Gerhard Goisser Commercial Manager Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA, Inc.

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Steffen Dubé President and General Manager Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA Inc.
Gerhard Goisser Commercial Manager Herrenknecht Tunnelling Systems USA, Inc.