Manila accepts first two of 25 TBM army

9 September 2020

Officials from the Philippine’s Department of Transportation have accepted the first two of 25 TBMs that will be used to bore the US$7bn Metro Manila Subway Project.

Scheduled for delivery in 2021, the two 6.9m-diameter TBMs are part of a US$207m-US$248m TBM supply package for the excavation of the subway.

Manufactured by Japan’s JIM Technologies (JIMT), the first TBM will arrive from the JIMT factory in Yokohama in January 2021, with the second following in February. Excavation is expected to follow shortly after.

The 36km line will run entirely underground in twin tube, single-track tunnels; stations will be constructed using cut and cover. The alignment will run mainly through the Guadalupe formation – a volcanic tuff known locally as ‘adobe’.

Due to the regular occurrence of typhoons and earthquakes in the region, the subway will feature high-level entrances for flood resistance, as well as water-stop panels and doors.

The project will have 15 stations and will connect North Caloocan in Bulacan with Dasmariñas in Cavite. It is to be constructed in two phases and will ultimately link with the national rail system and Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The first phase will cover the central part of the metropolitan area while the second phase will extend to outlying localities.

Ground breaking took place in February 2019, with construction on Phase 1 expected to be completed in 2025. The project is the first such underground transportation system in the Philippines and is designed to have a capacity of 1.5m passengers/day.

TBM maker JIMT was established in 2016 by the amalgamation of the shield tunnelling businesses of IHI Corp, JFE Engineering Corp and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. In 2018, JIMT bought 50% of Australia-based TBM builder Terratec.