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Grand Paris Express: 10 photos dive into the basements under construction


THE PARISIAN WEEKEND. To enlarge the City of Light, 7000 professionals work 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. Objective: to double

27 m underground, Bantan crushes the rock with his giant jaws.

Managed from a cockpit worthy of a space shuttle, this 100m long and 10m wide sheet and steel monster set off last June for a 3.8 km journey through the basement of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Named in honor of Bantan Diarra, the first firefighter from La Courneuve, this machine - which looks like a rocket - is one of the two active tunnel boring machines of the Verdun site, a huge shaft located just next to the current RER station. du Bourget.

On the surface, three tower cranes transport the segments, these 2 m long pieces that will make up the future tunnels, while two concrete batching plants produce the tons of gray cement needed to build this gigantic structure.

A few tens of meters below, the men in orange overalls from the construction giant Eiffage are busy under the benevolent gaze of a statuette of Saint Barbara, patroness and protector of minors.

Bantan is far from alone.

Currently, 20 tunnel boring machines of the Grand Paris Express are advancing under the feet of Ile-de-France residents, 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. At a rate of 12 m per day, they dig, clear and lay the fiber-reinforced concrete lining of the tunnels where the trains will run. of tomorrow.

The objective of this titanic work: to inaugurate the first lines before the Olympic Games of 2024, and to complete, by 2030, a whole new transport network which will relieve congestion in metro and RER.

That is more than 200 km of additional lines and 68 new stations, located almost exclusively in the suburbs, at a cost of 35 billion euros.

Stopped a few weeks in the spring by the Covid, the largest development project in Europe has since resumed, meter after meter, shovel after shovel.

Today, more than 150 projects are underway all around Paris, mobilizing nearly 7000 specialized workers: crane operators, pilots, drillers, quantity surveyors, electricians ... From the spectacular arrival of the parts which constitute a tunnel boring machine, to the digging of a gallery, through the construction of the shaft where lines 16 and 17 of the super-metro will intersect, all are working day and night to stay on schedule.

Here are our exclusive images.

1. In June 2019, at Arcueil-Cachan station (Val-de-Marne).

The first “ground breaking” of the Grand Paris Express, the largest underground construction site in Europe, was given in 2014. At the start of 2020, more than 10 km of rail tunnels had already been dug.

/ Philippe de Poulpiquet  

2. Some 7,000 professionals are working in the bowels of Ile-de-France to build the future super-metro.

Among them, tunnel boring operators, miner-woodworkers, formworkers ...

/ Philippe de Poulpiquet  

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3. The tunnels are made up of rings, each ring itself being made up of seven voussoirs.

These parts, 2 m long and around 8 tonnes, are assembled as the tunnel boring machine advances.

/ Philippe de Poulpiquet  

4. Parts and instruments necessary for the site are transported by exceptional convoy.


Recoura / Fotoreso  

5. The components that make up the TBM cutting wheel are first assembled on the surface.

With a diameter of 10 m and a weight of 140 tons, this essential part is used to dig the basement.

/ Charlotte Follona  

6. Once welded together by teams from Herrenknecht, the German company that manufactures these machines, the various parts are lowered to a depth of 30 m.


7. The tunnel boring machine parts, including the cutting wheel, are thus mounted underground, at the back of the future station.

/ Gérard Rollando / Society of Greater Paris  

8. After 3 km underground, the Malala tunnel boring machine - in tribute to Malala Yousafzai, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner - arrived in February 2020 at the Sentier des Marins worksite, in Villiers-sur-Marne, for line 15 South.

/ Quentin Lambert  

9. Located in La Courneuve, near the current RER station at Le Bourget, the Verdun structure serves as a launching point for two tunnel boring machines, soon to be three.

In 2024, the automatic trainsets for future lines 16 and 17 will be connected there at a depth of 27 m.

/ Philippe de Poulpiquet  

10. By 2030, the Grand Paris Express will have four brand new lines (15, 16, 17 and 18), not to mention the extension of line 14. The future network will be 200 k, or as much as the current metro, and will obviously be connected to existing transport.

It will have 68 new stations, mainly in the suburbs.

/ Gérard Rollando / Society of Greater Paris  

Source: leparis

All news articles on 2020-10-30

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