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Third tunnel boring machine used by ACCIONA to construct the Quito metro begins excavation work


The future Line 1 of the metro will have a 22.6 km tunnel and 13 new stations, in addition to the two already constructed by ACCIONA.

Three tunnel boring machines are working simultaneously on the excavation works.

The third of the three tunnel boring machines (TBM) that ACCIONA Construction will use to construct Line 1 of the Quito metro in Ecuador is now operational and has started excavating the section from the Solanda station heading south towards Extraction Shaft No. 1.

On 22 June, the President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, and the Mayor of the city of Quito, Mauricio Rodas, attended the ceremony to start-up the tunnel boring machine named “La Carolina”. This latest milestone means that the three TBMs that ACCIONA will use to excavate the tunnels of the future Line 1 of the metro are now all operational.

“La Carolina” was assembled in May in the Ecuadorian capital and will drill 3.4 km of tunnel, simultaneously lining it with segmented concrete rings to form the structure of the tunnel. The material produced from the excavation works will be extracted on conveyor belts.

“La Carolina” was prepared and tested at ACCIONA Construction’s machinery depot in Noblejas (Toledo). The 1,660-ton machine, which has a 9.37 metre diameter, was then transported from Bilbao to Guayaquil by ship, and from this port city to Quito on a special transport system.

A total of three tunnel boring machines are simultaneously working on the second phase of Line 1 of the Quito metro. The first of these machines, named “La Guaragua”, has been operational since March and has excavated more than 2.1 km of tunnel and installed 1,400 concrete lining segments. “La Guaragua” is currently ahead of the planned construction schedule and is expected to arrive at its second station in the next few days. The second of these machines, christened “Luz de América”, began excavating in May and has bored through nearly 300 metres and installed 188 concrete lining segments.

The second phase of Line 1 of the Quito metro involves construction of a 22.6 km tunnel and 13 new stations, which will join the two stations already constructed by ACCIONA (La Magdalena and El Labrador) during the first phase. Workshops and train sheds will also be constructed, as well as the necessary railway installations required to commission the line.

The project, which will boost employment in the city, is 32% complete. This metro line is the first part of a new public transport system for Quito that is intended to modernise the transport infrastructure of Ecuador’s capital.

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