EPB shield S-574 for upgrading of the autostrada (motorway) route between Italy‘s cities of Bologna and Florence successfully passed its acceptance inspection by the Italian client at the Herrenknecht works in Schwanau, Germany, in mid-December, 2010. This giant, with a cutting diameter of 15.62 m, is currently the largest tunnel-boring machine (TBM) built anywhere in the world. In the next few weeks, it is to be partly dismantled and then shipped to its operating site in Italy.
A heavily used section of Italy‘s Autostrada A1 between Bologna and Florence is currently being widened. This upgrading work includes the 2.5 km long twin-bore Sparvo Tunnel, part of a project awarded by the Italian client, Autostrade per l‘Italia S.p.A., to a joint venture consisting of Vianini Lavori S.p.A., Toto Costruzioni Generali S.p.A. and Profacta S.p.A. Herrenknecht‘s earth-pressure balanced shield tunnelling-boring machine S-574 is to be used for mechanised driving of the new expanded-diameter tunnel.
This world-record breaking machine, with a cutting diameter of 15.62 m and a total length of 130 m, has been constructed, commissioned and exhaustively tested in an intensive three-month period of work at the Herrenknecht headquarters at Schwanau, in southern Germany. In mid-December 2010, the client, Toto Costruzioni Generali S.p.A., invited high-ranking representatives from all companies participating in the project to the handover ceremony in Schwanau, in order to showcase the new machine and focus on details of its operation (Figure 1).
Since the time horizon for completion of the Sparvo Tunnel is very tight, dismantling commenced immediately after successful acceptance inspection (Figure 2). The first individual components are to begin their trip to Italy in January, 2011, with final on-site assembly starting in February. The gigantic TBM is scheduled to begin the first bore, heading north from a starting point near Florence, in May, 2011. Opening of the new section of autostrada is planned for late 2013.