How tunnels were dug beneath Dubai Airport without disrupting flights

The sections were tunnelled beneath the airport’s taxiways whilst aeroplanes moved overhead, preparing for departure.
Dubai airport, Expansion

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Dubai International Airport is currently undergoing its phase three expansion in order to increase capacity, with structural works, mechanical engineering and further site works, including tunneling undertaken without disrupting flights.

According to KHL, this was done with the use of a Herrenknecht AVN micro tunneling machine with a 3m diameter for the installation of for a new stormwater drainage tunnel.

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The sections were tunnelled beneath the airport’s taxiways whilst aeroplanes moved overhead, preparing for departure.

A tunnelling team from International Foundation group worked under the direction of Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects to bore three sections, 610m, 765m and 825m in length,

With over 90 million passengers travelling through Dubai International annually, it was essential that tunneling work was completed whilst the airport was in operation.

The project was carried out using the pipe jacking method (a trenchless method of installation in which a hydraulic jack drives the bore head forwards).

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The micro-tunneller worked at depths of 13 to 15m and pushed through up to 15m of ground each day to excavate the tunnel.

In total 2,200m of tunnel was bored as the team broke through soft soils, sandstone and siltstone.

The new pipelines that were put in place will collect and drain away rainwater, so it can no longer accumulate on the surface – crucial to maintaining smooth flight operations.

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