Shell Tunnel Boring Machine nearly arrives, but sinks in the bog
Jul 31, 2012, 20:42
The Tunnel boring Machine which was supposed to be helping Shell/The Corrib Project move onto the next part of their 'conservation' of Mayo Bogland is now sinking into the bogland a few miles short of its destination.
It arrived in Dublin on Sunday night and has been transported with a massive police convoy across the country. It has had to be carried on several lorries because it weighs so much.
This morning it arrived at Glenamoy Cross, a location I'm familiar with from taking the local bus service which exchanges passengers there. One of the lorries jacknifed into the bog beside the road. The load it was carrying has been estimated at between 50 and 160 tons and is now sinking into that bog. http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0731/shell-lorry-blocking-co-mayo-crossroads.html
From what people are saying elsewhere there is no crane in Ireland that could lift it. Which leaves me wondering if there is supposed to be a crane elsewhere that would be able to lift it while putting pressure on a bog road. Similar bog roads in the area have numbered signs along them with the understanding that lighter loads were likely to go through the local roads which are all built on bog, since that is the nature of the land around there. (Number system was supposed to be that truck sinks through road, then driver rings back to the central office to be rescued. Number is used as a location signifier so rescue team knows where it's going)
The idea with the TBM was to assemble this machine which weighs that amount in one of several sections and sink it into the bog under the Sruwaddacon Estuary to dig a tunnel. So it leaves me wondering if something similar wasn't almost inevitably going to happen, weight of assembled machine sinking through the structure of the land instead of being able to drill a tunnel on one level as intended.
It wouldn't be the first time that the Corrib Project had worked out of lack of knowledge of the terrain it was dealing with. They appeared to lose several diggers into the land in the first year they were working.
But I bet they try to go ahead, rescue the machine, assemble it and then sink it below the estuary. Hopefully never to be seen again, but its likely to pollute while it stays there.