18 months of preparing the implementation of this demanding transport operation: DB SCHENKER in Poland took over the transport of the unique TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) and it was one of the most difficult and complex logistic projects implemented so far in Poland. This machine was designed for tunnel boring on the construction site of the S19 expressway in Babica near Rzeszów. The machine, consisting of many parts, was transported from Spain to Poland. Its weight exceeded 4,000 tons, its length was 107 meters, and the diameter of the drilling disc was 15.2 meters.

Many factors were taken into account when implementing this project. We are talking not only about the law regulations determining the transport of oversized items.
It also included, for example, verification of bridges and viaducts construction strength, or investigating the possibility of carrying out all the necessary maneuvers with special semi-trailer that carries the heaviest TBM elements weighing up to 230 tons.

Tomasz Kwapis
Head of the Oversized Transport Department at DB SCHENKER

Tunnel Boring Machine: One of the heaviest loads ever on Polish roads

The heaviest components, including the main drive and the cutting disc, were transported by DB SCHENKER to the port of Santander, from where they were delivered to Szczecin within a week after loading.
The next stage will involve floating them on special barges down the Oder River to Opole. There, the machine components will be unloaded and properly secured on platforms equipped with self-propelled axles. After that, they will be transported by truck to Babica. Lighter components will be transported directly by truck from Spain to the Podkarpacie region.

In order make the transport possible, it was necessary to build a dedicated expressway exit for the operation in order to allow the platform to turn. In accordance with regulations, the transport was carried out at night at a speed of between 10 and 15 kilometers per hour. The semitrailer had 396 bridges, viaducts, and interchanges and intersections to cross on its way.

The impressive TBM

The TBM is a powerful machine that has bored one of the longest tunnels in Poland (2,255 meters) under the Grochowiczna hill in the Podkarpacie region. The machine’s working speed ranges from a few centimeters per minute to about 10 meters per day. The TBM weighs 4,300 tons, has a power output of 12,000 kilowatts, a length of 107 meters, and a tunneling disc diameter of 15.2 meters. The machine was previously used for the construction of Madrid’s orbital expressway. 

Published: October 2023