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Rock Tunnels at High Water Pressure: Non-Continuous Pressurized TBMs vs. Slurry

The choice of TBM type is never easy, but it becomes especially challenging when faced with a hard rock tunnel with expected high water flows and pressure.  Slurry Shield tunneling has a long history of being used in these conditions to minimize the risk, though this method has brought with it other risks along with cost considerations. At recent projects around the world, another method has been proven to effectively manage these project risks without utilizing Slurry Shield tunneling: Shielded, Non-Continuous Pressurized (NCP)-TBM tunneling in rock with a comprehensive grouting program. In this paper, the authors will analyze the use of Shielded NCP TBMs at projects around the world as compared with slurry shield tunneling in rock under water pressure. Recommendations will be given in order to establish a clear picture of the optimal tunneling method.


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