The REM light rail project is entering another phase of development, namely for work at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport with the arrival of the project’s latest acquisition, a TBM.
A TBM (tunnel boring machine) is a large machine used to dig out rock and ground debris and creating a tunnel that will be used to connect the airport with the Technoparc, a distance of 3.5 km.
“This is a ground-breaking situation in Montréal and Québec. Until now, the construction of the metro had systematically been carried out by drilling and blasting,” explained Jean-Vincent Lacroix, spokesperson for the REM project through a recent release.
Because the TBM is so grand in scale, “it had to be delivered in pieces, requiring about 60 trucks. The next step is to assemble and test this specialized equipment, then drilling will begin in the coming months.”
When the machine gets going, it will dig underground in order to preserve wetlands located in the Technoparc and avoid airport runways by going 30 meters under the surface.
The large TBM is more than 100 metres in length once assembled and requires ten skilled workers to use the belt conveyor and cockpit.
Like it named its two large cranes Anne and Marie, the REM is seeking the public’s help in naming the new TBM as “tradition dictates the proposals must be a female name.”
It is traditional as well for TBMs to be “placed under the protection of Saint Barbara, patron saint and protector of miners and underground workers.”
Anyone interested in naming the new TBM can do so online via reminfo.com and the winning title will be announced in December when the new tunnel boring machine is inaugurated for use.