Port Said in Egypt
‘The remote location also makes it a new experience’
Stephan Fleischmann is Senior Project Manager of the complex project with state of the art Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM’s) to create twin road traffic tunnels beneath the newly enlarged Suez Canal.
The purpose of the tunnels is to allow greater transit capacity between the highly populated districts of the Nile Delta to the Sinai Peninsula. At present traffic flow is restricted: many people have to use the system of ferries that operate out of Port Said.
Stephan: ‘From a technical standpoint, the tunnels will each be 2.8 km long with an internal diameter of 11.40 metres allowing for two lanes of traffic per tunnel. They will be excavated using two Slurry System TBMs, each with a cutter head power of 3,500 kW. This type of TBM transports spoil to the surface in a bentonite solution through pipes attached to the TBM by a telescopic pipe system. On reaching the surface all the bentonite slurry is run through a separation plant to extract the spoil, thereby making the bentonite solution reusable, reducing wastage and helping the environment.
The tunnel is lined with concrete segments each weighing close to 13 tons, which are assembled into a ring behind the TBM as it progresses steadily towards its destination. These rings provide safety to users and facilitate the installation of the road deck. All the concrete segments used on this project were cast onsite using specially imported precision molds, and reinforced steel cages are also manufactured onsite by our own trained personnel.
Due to the project worksite being on the Sinai Peninsula, logistics of transporting materials and people has taken a lot of careful planning. The remote location also makes it a new experience for the 4,500 people presently employed. The internet provides the important contact between workers and their loved ones. The workforce is multinational, which necessitates catering of different cuisines each day.
We agreed a contract to work together with iPS
of The Netherlands to provide specialist personnel highly experienced in TBM tunnel
production to assist us with meeting our personnel needs.’
Palle Kurek, TBM Pilot
‘Being part of such a prestigious project makes me feel proud’
Palle: ‘I started on the Port Said project last January in the position of Tunnel Boring Machine Pilot. In this position I am responsible for controlling the operating parameters of the entire machine, including the steering, to meet the guidance targets. Our tolerances for steering are measured in millimeters and in general we keep the TBM within 5 millimeters of the desired position, which is a very small measurement compared to the size of the TBM. As we advance the TBM through mainly limestone and sand, geology segments are installed to prevent collapse and water ingress.
Being part of such a prestigious project makes me feel proud, helping create these tunnels for the benefit of the hard-working Egyptian people. Knowing that I am helping to create something that will last for hundreds of years gives me immense satisfaction at the end of each day.
When I’m not working it’s incredible to watch the very large vessels which use the Suez Canal, steam majestically along as though they are floating on the desert sands, quite a sight to behold.’