Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Packing a Punch: The AQM 150-HR Roadheader

How do you punch through 3.5 miles of dirt and rock? You start with an AQM 150-HR Roadheader which arrived on President’s Day after a weeklong trip from Maryland. A roadheader is a tracked piece of tunneling equipment used in conventional mining. In front is a boom-mounted cutting head that hacks away at rock face. The spoils generated are collected on a conveyor belt and loaded onto rail cars for transport outside of the tunnel.

This roadheader will start its journey at the Alameda West Portal (AWP) which is one of the primary tunneling sites for the New Irvington Tunnel. From there, the roadheader will tunnel west towards the Vargas Shaft and meet with a sister roadheader headed in the opposite direction. The roadheader rendezvous is expected to take place sometime in 2013.

The roadheader is more than 26 feet long, 7 feet wide and weighs 36 tons. The boom-mounted cutting head is capable of excavating the 13-foot horseshoe shaped dimensions of the tunnel. This roadheader also has a probe attachment used to drill a 2-inch hole 150 feet ahead of the rock to investigate ground conditions and groundwater inflow.

Look for continued images and updates of our progress at New Irvington Tunnel.

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