HUMONGOUS TUNNEL DIGGERS COMING TO ISRAEL

TBM in Seattle | Photo: YouTube screenshot CBS Evening News channelFour Tunnel Boring Machines are coming to Israel. With minimal disruption to life above ground, they will create the underground sections of Tel Aviv's Light Rail service. The project is expected to be completed by 2021.

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Israeli Transport Minister Yisrael Katz recently announced that "despite the gloomy forecasts of traffic jams from Netanya to Gadera and of the area becoming infested with rats, we have overcome everything."

Indeed, work on the Red Line light rail train has taken a giant leap forward with the introduction of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which will be used to dig the train tunnels 90 feet under the surface.

The TBM itself is a monster of a machine. At 300 feet long (~92 meters), 800 tons (726 tonnes), and 22.5 feet wide (~7 meters), it's able to not only dig 75 feet (~23 meters) of tunnel a day, but also lay down the concrete to reinforce and build the tunnel. It's crewed by 25 people, and has everything from bathrooms, a dining room, and an observation deck.

TBM size illustration Photo YouTube screenshot Central Subway channel

One of the TBMs is already in Israel, while another one is on its way from Germany

Four TBMs are expected to begin digging within the next year, with two working from east to west, and two working from west to east.

Katz noted that the project involves thousands of people. By the end of the project, the light rail is expected to serve 70,000 commuters – something that reduce the use of private vehicles as more use public transportation.

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This is a lightly edited and condensed version of the original article published by YNet News at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4836553,00.html

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