Second TBM for Messina – Catania high-capacity line unveiled

Messina – Catania high-capacity lineThe second giant tunnel-boring machine (TBM) that Webuild will use for the development of the Messina – Catania high-capacity line in Sicily, has been unveiled after it passed the Factory Acceptance Test.

The TBM, fitted with the latest technology to make it operate in the most environmentally sustainable way possible, has a diametre of 9.36 metres and a weight of nearly 900 tonnes.

The TBM will be dismantled at the factory and shipped to Webuild’s construction site in Sicily where a team of technicians will reassemble it. The giant TBM is expected to arrive in January.

The TBM not only excavates a tunnel with a rotating shield at the front, but also lines the walls with pre-cast concrete segment, leaving behind a complete tunnel.

The innovation that Webuild is bringing to the project in Sicily is making its execution more sustainable, as the group works closely with the local supply chain. At Belpasso near Catania, it has set up a factory whose production of pre-cast concrete segments is completely automated. It will have robots make the segments for the tunnels along the two sections, or lots, assigned to the group along the Messina – Catania high-capacity line. A first in Italy, the factory will be able to produce a segment every seven minutes, instead of the usual 10 when done by humans.

The TBM will contribute to the construction of a section of the Palermo – Messina – Catania line, as part of an infrastructure plan for the sustainable development of the island and make the transport of people and goods faster and more efficient.

Along the planned Palermo – Messina – Catania railway, Webuild is working on seven sections, along with other Italian companies. In addition to the 30 km Fiumetorto – Lercara Junction for Palermo – Catania, the group also works for the 37.5- km Bicocca – Catenanuova section and the 15 km Nuova Enna – Dittaino section. Recently, the company won the contract for the construction of Caltanissetta Xirbi – Nuova Enna (Lot 4A, 27 km) and Lercara – Caltanissetta Xirbi (Lot 3, 47 km). Between Messina and Catania, the Webuild is also performing construction works for Taormina – Giampilieri (28.3 km) and the 15 km Fiumefreddo – Taormina/Letojanni sections.

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