Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tunneling Begins

On Friday, March 11, the AQM 150-HR Roadheader began grinding its way west and has reached a distance of 25 feet. Tunneling will pause for approximately a week to complete the installation of the portal yard, ventilation and permanent power. Railroad tracks will also be installed behind the road header. The tracks are needed because as spoils generated they are collected on a conveyor belt and loaded onto rail cars for transport outside of the tunnel.

When tunneling resumes the roadheader will travel an average of 22 feet per day until it reaches the Vargas Shaft (14,300 feet away). A sister roadheader headed in the opposite direction will rendezvous with the machine sometime in 2013.

The roadheader’s boom-mounted cutting head that hacks away at rock face.

The boom-mounted cutting head is capable of excavating the 13-foot horseshoe shaped dimensions of the tunnel.

The Roadheader starts its journey from the Alameda West Portal

Spoils generated are collected on a conveyor belt attached to the roadheader and loaded onto rail cars for transport outside of the tunnel.

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