Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Some Assembly Required! - Part Two

I continue to be the consumate "sidewalk superintendant," following the progress of re-assembling the World's Largest Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM.)

"Bertha," as she has become known, was first assembled and tested in Osaka. Following proof of performance, she was de-constructed into 41 pacakages. These are now being painstaking re-assembled in an 80-foot ( 24 m) deep "Launch Pit."

After a couple of "false" starts, I called the State Route 99 (SR99) project office to gain an understanding of why Car 3 was back and forth under the gantry crane.  Turns out her top deck had to be removed for the placement of electrical transformers.  One 690v, the other 480v; see diagram above.

Finally, on Friday April 26, the exciting part began.  Each support car is lifted twice. The first lift off the Goldhofer multi-axle, multi-tired transporter. The second lift the car off its shipping cradle. Then  transport to the Pit.

The TBM is being reconstructed rear-to-front; so Car 3 was installed, followed by Car 2 early this morning. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, let the annotated photos bring you up to date.

As a reminder, there is a button labeled "SR99 Web Cams" in the right hand utility column.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Some Assembly Required!

Monday night, April15th, Jumbo's Fairpartner completed delivery of the SR99 Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) at Pier 46 in Seattle, Washington.

And by late  last  Tuesday afternoon, she cleared the Strait of Juan de Fuca, making for Dalian, China.

Resembling the parts of a giant child's toy-set, the next step is to re-assemble the 111,940 m (367 ft) long TBM in the Launch Pit. This is expected to take a few months to complete.

The boring machine is re-assembled from rear to front. Late this afternoon the 3rd car was maneuvered into place riding on two Goldhofer self-propelled mega axle/mega tired transporters.  In a few days, the red track mounted gantry crane will lower the car into the pit.

The support cars following the boring shield, carry a galley, machine shop, and construct the tunnel liner. Once again, the Washington State Department of Transportation has made this multimillion-dollar project accessible to all "sidewalk superintendents" by installing a handful of construction web cameras.

I've installed a button in the right margin, providing a link to WSDOT Construction Cams.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

First Ashore!

The 887-ton Cutter Head was the first piece of Seattle's SR99 Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) to be landed at Pier 46 from Jumbo Fairpartner.

The massive 17.48 m (57.5 ft) diameter Cutter Head was carefully placed on two Goldhofer self-propelled mega axle/mega tired transporters.

The configuration of cutting heads is matched to the type of material being bored through. For example, the TBM gnawing through the Alps is designed to cut through hard rock - old hard rock.

Designated as an Earth Pressure Balance TBM, this type of cutting head was developed in Japan in the 1970's to deal with silt and clay, sand and gravel, and glacial till. This is the very soil structure Seattle lays upon.

The upper body of one of three support cars was unloaded on Tuesday the 9th and parked on screw jacks, awaiting it's succession in the TBM re-assembly procedure.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Unloading Bertha TBM Has Begun!

The Fairpartner moved to Pier 46 in Seattle today (Saturday) to begin off loading "Bertha."

Once she has been re-assembled in a nearby pit, the Tunnel Boring Machine will begin drilling Seattle's SR99 replacement route beneath Seattle.

Most recent was the transport of Seattle's Tunnel Boring Machine. Jumbo just released photos and a time-lapse video of loading the 7,777 ton machine. As you watch the video, note that once the hold is full, her deck is "reinstalled" to load the remaining pieces.

Another item of interest is the placement of a sponson. The sponsons - yellow boxes - are carried on the stern of the vessel.

A sponson fits into a notch on the vessel. When filled with sea water, it broadens the effective beam and stability of the vessel, allowing the cranes to lift TBM parts off an adjacent barge.

•  At 0:45 into the video, the second sponson has been deployed as the lifts become heavier.
•  At 1:09 Shield Body lifted by front crane.
•  At 1:25. stern pedestal crane lifts green 900 ton Cutter Head onto deck.
•  At 2.00 Support Cars lifted onto center deck.

Unlike packing your car for a vacation, each of the more than 40 "packages" is measured and weighed. A loading plan is produced to distribute the weight and insure maximum use of the vessels hold and deck area.

Even the weight of crew and supplies is included in calculating the load configuration.

"Big Boy Toys" will be employed to transport TBM components to the assembly/start pit.  A Goldhofer PST unit is shown here, being prepared for the big moves. Features 96 axles and  800 tires.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Something Heavy This Way Comes - Conclusion

Fourteen days out of Osaka Japan, Jumbo Shipping's Fairpartner passes close abeam Pt. Wilson, inbound into Admiralty Inlet.

She's heading for Seattle, bearing the world's largest Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM.)

Seattle fire boat greets Fairpartner with her one-of-a-kind cargo, April 2, 2012. She is now on the hook in Elliott Bay.

In mid March, the Fairpartner had been alongside at Hitachi Zosen's facility near Osaka Japan, loading the world's largest tunnel boring machine - TBM.

It had been assembled in a dry dock, and thoroughly tested, before being disassembled into 41 segments for shipment to Seattle.
The entire 7,000 ton TBM was loaded aboard the Fairpartner in 4 days.  The vessel clearing Osaka on the 19th of March.

This morning was a major adventure for me. I'd been following the Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking the progress of the Fairpartner from Osaka, where the TBM was created. The last position report was just off the coast of Japan 14 days ago!

But there is a large black hole in the Pacific where the AIS - at least the version I subscribe to - is reported "out of range."

Therefore, for almost two weeks I didn't have a clue as to where the Fairpartner was. Her original Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) in Seattle was Monday, April 1st.

But nothing showed up! I must admit I panicked, 'till I found out she had a revised ETA. Apparently she encountered strong headwinds whilst crossing the Pacific.

Finally, late Monday night, Jumbo's Fairpartner AIS signature appeared on the western approaches to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is approximately 100 miles from Cape Flattery to Port Townsend. I guesstimated that she would pass Pt Wilson, about two miles from my home, around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

I left home a little early - just in case. Well, listening to my "gut" paid off, because when I pulled into the parking lot at Fort Worden, there she was! I had to scramble to get the tripod and camera set up!

What a thrill!  Not only to see a heavy lift ship. But more important, to bring closure to events I had spent so many hours on in a virtual world of AIS and mining Google for information about Seattle's TBM.

This is an exciting day for the residents of Seattle and surrounding environs. Aboard the Fairpartner are 41 packages containing the world's largest tunnel boring machine (TBM.) In a few days, the vessel will begin unloading the 7,000-ton beast at Pier 46.

Alaska Way was detoured around the work site, giving clean access to Pier 46. It will take several months to re-assemble the TBM in the "start pit," and begin the 9,000 ft (2.74km) bore northbound beneath Seattle.

The tunnel project is designed to replace the aged Viaduct (damaged) and Battery Street Tunnel, (not damaged) during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake.

As kids growing up in Seattle, we remember the thrill of driving the Viaduct. And we took great pleasure in taking visitors for a ride; northbound top deck; southbound bottom deck.