THE date 30 May 2013 marks an important milestone for the MRT Project as that was the day when the world’s first Variable Density Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) was officially launched by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak at the Cochrane Launch Site.
With the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line’s first TBM began tunnel excavation works towards Pasar Rakyat Station, a distance of 1.2km.
The first Variable Density TBM was specially designed to handle tunneling works through the Karstic condition of the Kuala Lumpur Limestone geological formation. The TBM was developed jointly by the MRT Project’s underground works contractor MMC Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd and world-renowed TBM manufacturer Herrenknecht AG.
To mark the launch of the TBM, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib pressed a button at a console which was erected next to the machine at the bottom of the 30m deep launch shaft.
He was accompanied by Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp) Chairman Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, MRT Corp Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Azhar Abdul Hamid, MRT Corp Project Director Mr Marcus Karakashian, Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat Chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar, and Gamuda Bhd Group Managing Director Dato’ Lin Yun Ling.
The Prime Minister then visited the inside of the TBM which he had launched, and the second TBM which is being assembled beside the first machine.
Earlier in his speech, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib said the launch marked an important milestone in the transformation of the country’s public transport industry.
“Once completed, the Project will benefit the people at large for generations to come.
“This success is a good example where Malaysia is a pioneer in the highly specialized field of tunnel construction. Tunnel construction industry is an industry that will grow in the future and it is not impossible that Malaysia will be the leaders in this high-tech industry globally,” he added.
He said the MRT Project will serve a long term goal, not only to help alleviate out traffic congestion, but will also boost the growth of our economy.
Four TBMs will be launched from the Cochrane Shaft. Two, including the one which was just launched, will excavate northwards to Pasar Rakyat Station which is located within the Tun Razak Exchange Development. The other two will tunnel southwards to the Maluri Portal where the line will continue on an elevated viaduct to Kajang.
A total of 10 TBMs will be used for to construct the underground portion of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line which stretched 9.5km. Six of them will be Variable Density TBMs while the remaining four will be Earth Pressure Balance TBMs.