Quito mayor Mauricio Rodas has launched the first of three tunnel boring machines that will be used to construct the Ecuadorian capital’s new metro.
The TBM, named ‘La Guaragua’, began its tunnelling drive on February 24. Over the next 21 months, the TBM will excavate a 7.5km tunnel between El Labrador and La Alameda.
The TBM’s cutting face has a diameter of 9.4 metres – 2.3 metres wider than those used to excavate the twin-bore Crossrail tunnels in London.
La Guaragua, which has been manufactured by Germany’s Herrenknecht, will complete around 400 metres of tunnel each month. Together, the three TBMs will construct the full length of the 22km metro tunnel.
As the TBM progresses, it will install the tunnel’s concrete lining, which will be made up of around 98,000 individual segments.
Some of the spoil removed from the tunnels will be repurposed at the city’s Bicentennial Park – a public park which opened in 2013 on the site of the former Mariscal Sucre Airport.