Robbins TBM Advances Lebanon's Water System

December 7th, 2007

Oceanside excavation using a Robbins TBM along Lebanon's coast will ultimately bring fresh water to a parched and heavily populated region in the Kesrouane district 20 km (12 mi) north of Beirut. The 4 km (2.5 mi) long El Madiq Tunnel, contracted to the Baresel AG/Al Tajj Est. JV, is part of the much larger Kesrouane Coastal Area Water Supply Project to improve water systems.

In August 2006, work on the project was halted due to conflicts in the region. Lebanon's infrastructure sustained more than USD $2.5 billion in damages during the July 2006 war with Israel. Most of Lebanon's construction projects were stopped or abandoned altogether. "When the war started the TBM had not been launched yet. Our crews left the worksite immediately. No damage was sustained to either the TBM or equipment from the conflict, but the project was delayed about half a year," explained Hr. Nicolas Ghanem of Al Tajj Est.

Crews returned to the project site to resume TBM assembly and begin boring operations in December 2006. The 3.8 m (12.5 ft) diameter Robbins Main Beam TBM is currently boring in limestone and mudstone with some areas of clay ranging from 20 to 60 MPa (2,900 to 8,700 psi) UCS. Ground support consists of shotcrete and wire mesh depending on the geology. The TBM, using a combination of 14-inch face and gage cutters with 12-inch center cutters is boring at a -0.35% grade. The El Madiq tunnel is expected to be complete in 2008.

The water scheme is funded by the Ministry of Hydraulic and Electric Resources, the Council for Development and Reconstruction, and the Kesrouane Water Authority. It involves 51 km (32 mi) of transmission pipelines, as well as the 4 km (2.5 mi) long El Madiq Conveying Tunnel.

The entire project aims to enhance the country's water network with a system of catchment works, pumping stations, and distribution tunnels that will serve 252,000 customers by 2020. Once complete, the project will supply up to 89,000 m3 (24 million gallons) of clean water per day, sourced from the river Nahr Ibrahim.

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