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Excavating Mexico City’s Mega-Tunnel in Mixed Ground at 150 Meters Deep: Emisor Oriente Wastewater Tunnel Lot 5

Mexico City, with its 19 million inhabitants, is one of the world’s largest cities, but much of its infrastructure is struggling to keep up. Between 1970 and 200 the population doubled and today it produces 40m³/sec of wastewater; however, capacity is only 10 m³. In addition, much of the city’s wastewater is untreated and flows through a network of open sewers and underground lines.

The National Water Commission, CONAGUA, has developed a critically designated plan to assuage health concerns and the potential for catastrophic flooding if a wastewater line should fail. The mainstay of their scheme is the country’s largest infrastructure project, Túnel Emisor Oriente (TEO). The 62 km long tunnel will be connected to the first wastewater treatment plant in Mexico City, and will alleviate flooding. A total of six TBMs are excavating the tunnel in some of the most complex geology on earth.

This presentation will look at the challenges of the TEO Lot 5, examining machine assembly at the bottom of the deep shaft, and modifications and performance in the exceedingly difficult conditions that challenge the limits of the EPB tunneling.


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