TBM launch shafts take shape on Polish rail project

Soletanche Polska delivers two tunnel boring machine launch chambers (TBM) and station foundations for a railway line under construction in the city of Lodz, Poland.

The Lodz Cross Line will cross the city center and connect three major stations: Lodz Kaliska, Lodz Fabryczna and Lodz Widzew.

The project consists of an open section between Lodz Widzew and Lodz Niciarniana and a tunnel section between Lodz Kaliska and Lodz Fabryczna stations.

As part of the work, Soletanche Polska built two circular tunnel boring machine launch shafts between Odolanowska and Stolarska streets. Shafts are constructed using diaphragm walls connected by barrettes which anchor the foundation slab. The 80 cm thick and 35 m deep walls of the shaft used 21,000 m³ of concrete.

A smaller circular launch pit and chamber on Długosza Street were constructed using diaphragm walls with bars anchoring the foundation slab. At a depth of 22 m, its 80 cm thick walls have a surface area of ​​1,500 m2. Once the work is completed, an 8.7 m diameter tunnel boring machine named Faustina will launch from his room.

The contractor opted for circular diaphragm walls as they provide safe support for the deep trenches. They also work well in difficult ground conditions and in areas with high groundwater levels. The structures are made watertight thanks to Soletanche Bachy’s continuous waterstop watertightness system.

The contractor is also constructing the foundations of the Lodz Srodmiescie station, which will involve the construction of diaphragm walls up to 40 m deep and 16,265 m² in perimeter.

The station will have three levels, with train platforms located on the second underground level. The construction of the underground levels will be a geotechnical challenge as the station is in a busy urban area and located between historic buildings. The work will be carried out in stages to minimize the impact on traffic.

The new railway line will make the city an important transport hub in Poland. As part of the project, Lodz Fabryczna station will also be transformed from a terminal to a transit station, which will shorten transit times for domestic, domestic and international connections via Lodz.

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