Design of TBM Work Shaft and TBM Launching Chamber

O. Sigl, B. Stacherl Geoconsult Asia Singapore, Singapore

ABSTRACT Contract T03 of the Singapore deep tunnel sewerage system (DTSS) comprises a 6.0 m finished ID main sewer tunnel, a number of access shafts, lateral connection tunnels as well as structures on the surface. The main sewer tunnel was constructed by means of an earth pressure balanced shield tunnel boring machine (EPB TBM). The TBM was launched from within a 12 m diameter, 32 m deep work shaft from a 7.6 m diameter launching chamber constructed at the bottom of the work shaft. The launch chamber was excavated based on the principles of NATM at the bottom of the work shaft and supported by sprayed concrete lining. The paper is focusing on the considerations in relation to the design and construction of the large diameter TBM work shaft and the TBM launching chamber and the successful operation of a system of groundwater re-charge wells. The design and selection of construction method for the work shaft were significantly influenced by the proximity of the works to an existing MRT depot and a highway interchange with depressed road, which was concurrently under construction at the time of shaft construction. Owing to the presence of the MRT test track in the depot area, stringent performance requirements were established with regards to construction methods and acceptable ground settlements, requiring groundwater recharging and ground treatment in the vicinity of the shaft. In addition, in its permanent condition the shaft is forming a junction of three main sewer tunnels of the DTSS. Therefore the lower section of the shaft was designed considering significant amount of space consumed by tunnel openings. 1. INTRODUCTION Contractor Kumagai Gumi – SembCorp Joint Venture chose to drive the main tunnel by a 7.16 m diameter earth pressure balanced Kawasaki shield TBM, supported by a pre-cast concrete segmental lining. In early 2001, the Kawasaki earth pressure balanced shield machine was launched from the 7.6m ID TBM launching chamber to complete the 5.2km long main sewer tunnel. The launch chamber was constructed at the bottom of the about 34m deep work shaft by means of NATM (New Austrian Tunneling Method) using sequential excavation and temporary sprayed concrete lining. Since the two neighbor DTSS contractors will drive their TBMs into the work shaft. Together with the backshunt tunnel for TBM operation and the de-aeration chamber, the five tunnels are forming a complicated structure where most of the shaft lining is consumed by the tunnel openings. The bored tunnel was operated and supplied through the work shaft and was successfully completed in December 2002. The design and construction of the work shaft and all adjacent underground structures were – apart from the locally very poor ground conditions – mainly dictated by the close proximity of the works to the Braddell MRT Depot and the construction works for the extension of the depressed road of the CTE Braddell Road Interchange ongoing concurrently with the works for DTSS Contract T-03. The depressed road underpass was crossing above the DTSS Tunnel immediately in front of the TBM launching chamber. For layout of structures around the work shaft refer to Figures 1 and 2 below.



5m to 6m thickness of highly weathered to completely weathered material of the Old Alluvium (medium dense sandy clay) and dense to very dense lightly cemented material with SPT N300 values of 80 or greater. G10 2 . One system was applied for the soft soils of the Kallang formation in the upper part of the shaft and one for the more competent layers of the Old Alluvium in the lower section. The soil types encountered at the shaft are shown in Figure 2 and typical design parameters described in Table 1 below. Figure 1 Structures at the work & access shaft – Plan layout with measured settlement isolines These layers are overlying the upper and the lower marine clay. Embedded in between are layers of sand (F1) and sandy clay (F2). 2. which are described in more detail below. in the vicinity of the works and ground treatment for shaft construction. Based on these conditions. The various members of the Kallang formation encountered include estuarine deposits (peaty clay) present at near the ground surface with extremely high water content. The 34 m deep work shaft had to be excavated through all of the above soil layers with knowledge of a distinctive local history of consolidation settlements due to presence of compressible soil layers – in particular the estuarine and marine clay. all of which are very soft to soft clays.The major limitations imposed by the presence of the MRT depot were stringent requirements with regard to allowable groundwater lowering. Soil investigation carried out at the work shaft showed the presence of two main formations. GEOLOGICAL CONDITIONS At the surface the site is generally covered with a fill material of clayey silt texture with some sand and gravel. a recent alluvial deposit commonly termed as the Kallang formation overlying the Old Alluvium. Old Alluvium below the Kallang formation is generally characterised by an intermediate layer of about 1. two different principal initial support systems have been chosen for the excavation of the work shaft.

Permeability tests (falling and rising head tests) were conducted in the area of the shaft at various depths for all soil layers encountered.0 – 15.0 Marine clay (M) CH 1 13.5 – 5.5 – 27. The F1 sand and the highly weathered upper layers of the Old Alluvium (HWOA) are known to have potentially high groundwater permeability.3 2. Both of those values were lower than expected. sheet piles were chosen to provide water tight ground support for this upper part of the shaft. water leakage and consolidation settlements.5 HWOA highly weathered) SM 10 18. and about 5 m to the highly weathered layers of the Old Alluvium.7 21 69 87 G10 3 . Figure 2 Section through the work shaft and depressed road The TBM launching chamber had to be excavated at the lower shaft section in Old Alluvium with a vertical cover of approximately 2 m to the slightly weathered.5 WOA (weathered) SM/SC 24 21. Previous experience from tunnelling in Old Alluvium along with the interpretation of soil investigation results in the vicinity of the work shaft indicated that NATM using sequential excavation and sprayed concrete linings was the most suitable and economic tunnelling method for the lower shaft section and the TBM launching chamber in the ground conditions expected to be encountered.The main focus when choosing the support system in the Kallang formation was on control of ground movements. Such considerations played a significant role in the design of ground treatment measures to prevent soil erosion and consolidation problems during excavation in this highly sensitive area.0 – 1. The values for Old Alluvium were between 10-8 and 6·10-8 m/s.2 4.8 2.3 1.2 5.5 – 21.0 Marine clay (M) CH 1 8.0 – 10.0 – 13.5 Fill (A) 5 1.0 8. The coefficients of permeability obtained from the tests were in the range of 10-6 to 10-7 m/s for the F1 material and the sandy layers of HWOA and only approximately 5·10-9 m/s for the more clayey HWOA.5 Fluvial sand (F1) SM/SC 5 15.0 Fluvial clay (F2) CH/CL 5 10.0 Estuarine clay (E) OH 1 5.5 OA (cemented) MH >100 Young’s modulus E’c [MPa] 4.5 – 18.0 – 8. Therefore.5 OA SM >80 > 27. Table 1 Soil Types and Typical Geotechnical Design Parameters Typical depth Geotechnical unit USC Symbol Average [m] SPT N300 0.

settlement 15mm Twist 1:1000 Increase in rail gauge +15 mm Decrease in rail gauge -2 mm Lateral displacement 14 mm Longitudinal level 1:2500 The ground treatment works were performed using a triple tube jet grouting system. By that it was possible to install the sheet pile into soil layers with SPT N300 values of about 60. Displacement Limits for MRT Test Track Criterion Value Max. Table 2.5 m thick ring of jet grouted soil around the sheet pile wall. The sheet piles were installed using silent piling equipment (hydraulic jacking system) in order to limit vibration effect on adjacent MRT structures to allowable levels. In addition.2 Initial Shaft Support Two different support systems were adopted for the upper and lower section of the 32 m deep shaft. namely: !" Upper section (0–22. 12m diameter and steel walers at about 2. a number of limitations and requirements have been imposed on the works and were incorporated in the contract documents.5 m depth): Shotcrete and wire mesh The initial support in the soft Kallang formation soil layers of the upper shaft section consisted of 23m long sheet piles arranged in a circle of approx. The purpose of the jet grouting treatment was to increase the wall stiffness for reduction of wall displacements and reduction of permeability in the surrounding soil to cut off seepage into the excavated shaft. The works to be carried out were located within the MRT reserve. G10 4 . The design diameter of the columns to be achieved in the Kallang formation was 1. In addition to the sheet pile wall.5 m. WORK & ACCESS Shaft 3.3. See Table 2 !" Limitation of vibrations caused by construction equipment to 15 mm/s peak particle velocity 3. The main requirements and limitations for the design and construction of the structures to be built at the shaft were as follows: !" No significant lowering of the groundwater table or reduction of pore pressure at depth !" Mandatory ground treatment to limit wall deflections in all soil layers !" Mandatory ground water recharge well system !" Water leakage into shaft to be very small for both initial support and final lining !" Limitation of displacements of the MRT test track to the rail intervention levels. A comprehensive testing programme for the treated ground was established in order to verify compliance with the design requirements. jet grouting was used in the soil layers of the Kallang formation and HWOA down to a depth of 21 m below ground level.5m vertical spacing.1 General Due to the proximity of the shaft works to a MRT test track.5 m depth): Sheet piles and steel walers in combination with jet grouting !" Lower section (>22. The jet grouting zone was formed by two intersecting rows of jet grouting columns arranged at the outside of the sheet pile wall. high pressure water jets at the sheet pile toe were used to facilitate driving in the more competent layers of weathered (WOA) and lightly cemented Old Alluvium (OA). These requirements related to the limitation of displacements for the test track and had to be seen in conjunction with the history of consolidation settlement in the area of the shaft. thus forming a 2.

the backshunt tunnel. However. The backshunt tunnel opposite of the TBM launch chamber was constructed due to requirements related to the marshalling of muck cars during TBM operation and was backfilled at a later stage G10 5 . Owing to the number of openings at the bottom of the shaft. the shaft bottom initial support was intended to be supported by reinforced cast in-situ concrete. Excavation near to the toe of the sheet piles was carried out in 1 m stages with concurrent installation of stiffening rings of reinforced shotcrete installed directly against the sheet pile wall. The sheet pile toe was supported by a 1.35 m wide cast in-situ concrete footing. the use of shotcrete was found to be more feasible. The presence of the five large openings at the shaft bottom required a 1m thick stiffening ring of cast in-situ reinforced concrete installed in the shaft above the openings. Initial support. Figure 3.3 m depth with concurrent installation of shotcrete and wire mesh. excavation within the circular sheet pile wall was carried out in stages dictated by the spacing of the walers. owing to the complicated geometrical conditions related to the intersection of many tunnels of different size. After the test program confirmed the success of the ground treatment measures. it was chosen to provide ground support for the lower shaft section. which are theTBM launch chamber. stress/strain relationship and included packer tests to determine the in-situ permeability of the treated ground.0 – 1. unconfined compressive strength. a thorough study of the most feasible ground support system was carried out. Excavation of the lower shaft portion was carried out in stages of 1. Therefore the initial ground support of the lower shaft portion consisted of shotcrete reinforced with wire mesh with additional rebars where required. Originally. moisture content. Since the shotcrete lining offered savings and speeding up of the construction program. (see Figure 3). The requirements were achieved with comfortable margins.The requirements set by the design for soil treated by jet grouting were as follows: !" Unconfined compressive strength (UCS): 500 kPa !" Undrained Young’s modulus: 90 MPa (initial loading) and 220 MPa (un/re-loading) !" Coefficient of permeability: kf # 1$10-8 m/s Testing program included determination of density. to provide stability during the critical stage of excavation right underneath the sheet pile toe. the de-aeration chamber and the openings for TBM break-in of two adjacent contracts (T-04 and T-06). upper and lower shaft section with ring beam ‘Soft eyes’ with a reduced shotcrete thickness were provided in the regions of future openings.

before starting excavation of the de-aeration chamber. well efficiency and the radius of influence of each well. 103 Water Level (m. The recharging capacity of the system was estimated at approximately 4 l/min based on a recharging water head of 1 m.3 Recharge Well System The contract documents specified mandatory installation of a recharge well system around the work shaft in order to control and recover any unintended groundwater drawdown due to shaft and tunnel excavation.7 m in diameter (see Figure 2). water standpipes and piezometers was carried out during the tests and crucial parameters back-calculated such as permeability. Until the arrival of the TBMs of the adjacent contracts there were only two openings in the shaft lining at a time. pumping tests were conducted in order to verify the effectiveness of the system. The pumping tests showed that the recharging capacity of the system was adequate to recover short-term groundwater drawdown and to avoid propagation of such drawdown towards the MRT test track. Once the other two TBMs have broken in. which set the limits for acceptable leakage into the excavation. the shaft will accommodate a total of four openings at the bottom of the shaft ranging from about 2.5 to 7. to confirm the design assumptions and the need for installation of additional wells prior to shaft excavation. Reduced Level) 102 Recharge Wells NOT in Operation during this period 101 9/4/01 16/4/01 23/4/01 30/4/01 7/5/01 Date Figure 4. After installation of the recharge wells. A total number of 11 wells were installed around the shaft and along the site boundary to the MRT test track area. The layout of the recharge system was designed based on the results of the in-situ permeability tests carried out as part of the additional soil investigation. Figure 4 is showing the distinctive drop in porewater pressures after switching off the recharge well G10 6 . 3. Pore water pressure measurement results Operation of the recharge well system during shaft and tunnel excavation confirmed the recharging capacity and showed that the system is capable to recover drawdown that occurred during the works. The recharge wells were 300 mm in diameter and approximately 23 m deep. The shotcrete lining around the openings was reinforced by rings of increased shotcrete thickness (up to 1m) with increased rebar reinforcement. The screened section of the wells extended from 12 m depth all the way down into the firm Old Alluvium. but effective recharging was considered to take place only in the F1 and HWOA layers. Monitoring of adjacent wells.

the maximum settlements monitored at the MRT test track were in the order of 10mm. The initial support design has been based on the results of numerical analyses performed for each. All excavation stages. The main focus in this analysis was on the structural effects of the openings and associated tunnelling activities upon the initial lining of the shaft. 3. The finite element analysis was also used to investigate consolidation effects due to shaft excavation. The design paid particular attention to these key factors. minimization of displacements was one of the G10 7 . Surface settlements due to excavation of the upper shaft portion were directly obtained from the finite element analysis and were the basis for a detailed construction impact assessment. However. Backshunt T04 T04 T06 Backshunt T06 Launch Chamber Figure 5. (See Figure 6).5 Design Approach for Initial Ground Support The main objectives for the design of the initial shaft support were minimisation of displacements and control of seepage and consolidation. sheet piles. Section through FLAC3D analysis model 4. using a simple elastic constitutive law.system for about three days and subsequent recovery when the system was in operation again. The model also incorporated volume elements to model the surrounding ground. modelling the creation of openings in the shotcrete lining in accordance with construction stages and associated tunnel excavations.1 Excavation and Initial Support Figure 6. Soft eyes in the lower shaft section It is one of the main principles of the NATM to tolerate a certain level of ground displacements. The analysis for the upper section was carried out based on a two-dimensional finite element model. walers and ground treatment were incorporated in the model. The model was based on plain strain conditions and considered the fact that actual construction tolerances along with other factors may result in considerable deviation from an ideal axisymmetric state of stresses. TBM Launch Chamber 4. The lower section of the shaft was designed with the help of a three-dimensional finite difference analysis model using the FLAC3D programme. Referring to Figure 1. thereby utilizing the contribution of the ground to the support of the excavated cavity. The structural design of the polygonal walers was based on a separate plane frame analysis. given the stringent displacement limits of the MRT test track. the upper section where sheet piles were used as well as the lower section with sprayed concrete lining.

Based on the structural analysis results a 350 mm thick shotcrete lining with wire mesh (T8 at 150 mm centers) was required for the large TBM launching chamber. maximum ground surface settlements around the shaft were in the range of 40 to 45mm and about 10mm at the MRT test track. G10 8 . where the geometry of intersection allows only very limited space for support structures between the tunnel openings. drainage drillings were carried out and maintained ahead of the face by at least 3 m at any one time to reduce pore pressures. Support elements consisted of sprayed concrete. Figure 7. since the soil is very sensitive to excessive shear strain and prolonged exposure prior to installation of support. CONCLUSIONS Both. The about 8. focussed ground treatment and thorough excavation sequencing.major objectives for the initial support design. The Old Alluvium is considered very suitable ground for NATM tunnel construction. !" Owing to selective groundwater recharging. seepage pressures may cause instability of the working face due to reduction of shear strength by pore water pressures. !" Ground water recharge well system to control and reverse porewater pressure drops due to excavation and eventually successfully control and limit short-term as well as long-term settlements. but were also in place if – depending on ground conditions – forepoling would be required. The lattice girders were mainly used as profile control. resulting in significant strength decrease. !" Use of reinforced sprayed concrete to provide reinforcement around tunnel eyes. applied immediately after excavation.5m diameter excavation was carried out in three separate stages (top heading. excavated bench with wire mesh laps Checking face stability conditions was an integral part of the design of excavation sequence and subdivision of headings and was carried out for drained and undrained conditions. the work shaft as well as the TBM launch chamber have been completed successfully in Singapore Old Alluvium. !" Sequentially installed reinforced sprayed concrete lining for a large diameter TBM work shaft and TBM launching chamber in Singapore Old Alluvium resulting in only relatively small ground surface settlements. TBM launch chamber. wire mesh reinforcement and lattice girders. The following particular methods have been employed successfully: !" Jet grouting to control sheet pile wall deflections in advance of the shaft excavation. which followed each other at closest possible distance in order to minimize ground movements. provided that excavation sequencing is carried out extremely carefully. Therefore. 5. bench and invert). Since the tunnels are below the groundwater table.