KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project entered a new chapter with the delivery of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) to spearhead the excavation works for the 16.39 kilometres (KM) twin-bore Genting Tunnel between Bentong and Gombak.
In a statement today, Malaysia Rail Link Sdn Bhd (MRL) chairman Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali said the TBMs arrived from China as per schedule after extensive factory tests in China.
He said the delivery bodes well with the decision of the cabinet meeting on Sept 2, 2020 that approved to revert ECRL Section C to its original alignment of Temerloh-Gombak-Serendah-Port Klang.
“The ECRL project is appreciative that the China-made TBM with state-of-the-art technology has been produced and delivered by China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) as per schedule.
“We are optimistic that this high-end machine is able to face the engineering challenges and geological conditions when tunnelling across the Titiwangsa Range,” he said.
Chief executive officer Datuk Seri Darwis Abdul Razak said the Genting Tunnel would be the first ECRL tunnel to be excavated using the TBM method as compared to the drill and blast method used on the project’s existing tunnels.
“Rest assured, the ECRL team is experience and all geared up to operate the TBM to excavate what will be Malaysia’s longest rail tunnel upon completion,” he said.
Meanwhile, the project’s engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contractor, China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCC-ECRL), managing director Bai Yinzhan said the arrival of the TBMs signalled more intensified activities for the project.
“In anticipation of the TBM arrival, we are increasing our headcount in Section 7 in Bentong for numerous management and non-management positions such as foreman and crane operators.
“As we move forward, our plan is to engage more local workforce and create job opportunities for the communities along the alignment,” he said.
Custom-made for use in hard rock condition and equipped with four torque cylinders, the TBM weighed a massive 1,600 tonnes and measures 266 metres in length together with its back-support system that houses the control room and substation, making them amongst the largest TBMs for rail tunnel excavation in Malaysia.
The TBMs will be transported by a convoy of trucks and low loader over the next four days to Bentong, Pahang, via the Karak highway or alternative route passing through Tampin in Negeri Sembilan and Muadzam Shah in Pahang for the oversized cargoes.
It will be reassembled at CCC-ECRL’s site and undergo further testing before starting the Genting Tunnel excavation works in the fourth quarter of this year.
The TBMs will be performing three main tasks underground namely excavating the tunnel, transporting tons of excavated spoil to the surface and installing the concrete panels that will line the tunnel.
At the maximum excavation capacity of 700 metres per month, it is expected to take about three years for the TBM to bore through the Genting Tunnel.