Jaso portal cranes aid tunnel construction

5 September 2003

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Several portal cranes from Spanish manufacturer Jaso are being used to handle concrete tunnel lining segments in a casting yard, in support of the construction of the new Line Nine underground metro railway in Barcelona. Tunnelling on the 2.5bn Euro project began in May.

Line Nine is an extraordinary project. Instead of the normal method of creating a single tube for each train, or even a double track tunnel solution as used in Madrid's recently completed lines, the project will use double stacked trains in one tunnel. The 10.9m internal diameter tunnel will have a top and a bottom section with one train running below and the other above in the opposite direction.

One of the two initial boring drives begins from a large 8ha worksite at Santa Coloma. With plenty of space, the contractor, a multiple joint venture led by Spanish firm FCC, is building the precast segments for the tunnel lining on site in a purpose-made factory to achieve the best conditions. The tunnel segments are also larger than normal, weighing 7.5t and requiring some beefy handling equipment. This is where the Jaso portal cranes come in, handling the units outside the factory and in a large storage yard alongside where nearly 1,000 segments will be kept for initial curing until they are hard enough to place in the tunnel. For delivery across site to the tunnel entrance a big Potain MD 900 tower crane is used.