Removing Rubble From A Mega-Tunnel

Conveyor belts designed by Continental are being used to transport several tons of rubble from one of Sweden’s biggest infrastructure projects: “Förbifart Stockholm” (Stockholm Bypass). The bypass, which is situated to the west of the Swedish capital, has been under construction since 2015.

Most of the bypass is being built underground, and it is intended as a north-south link to reduce the volumes of traffic passing through the centre. Heidelberg Cement’s aggregate company Jehander is using Continental solutions to enable rubble from the mega-tunnel to be reused for road construction.

Saving the environment
More than 18 kilometres of the bypass are up to 80 metres below ground level and pass under Sweden’s third-largest lake (Lake Mälaren) in three places. It would be easier to build an over-ground system of routes and bridges but Sweden is focused on environmental preservation. The self-confessed goal of Sweden’s Ministry of Transport is also to complete the project creating the smallest possible CO2 footprint in the process.

Constructing mega-tunnels like the Stockholm Bypass project generates several tons of rubble. A series of conveyor belt systems are being used to transport the extracted rock to three temporary ports that have been set up for the project. The rubble is taken across the waterways by inland vessels from the construction site in Stockholm to Jehander’s quarry in Löten.

Reusing the rubble
Transportation by sea has proven to be a much more efficient mode than using truck fleets as ships can carry between 1 500 and 3 000 tons of rock per load, whereas trucks can manage only 35 tons. As many as four fully-loaded ships a day arrive in Jehander’s port.

The rubble is then reused as concrete mostly for road construction, or is used to build houses and office buildings. But first the rock has to be washed, crushed, and treated at Jehander’s quarry site.

“At Löten quarry, our textile conveyor belts are currently working at full speed as a result of the major bypass construction project,” Continental’s Daniel Grimes explains.

“So far we have taken roughly seven percent of the total 5.5 million metric tons of rock that needs to be processed out of the tunnel. For this undertaking we can count not only on the quality and long service life of Continental’s conveyor belts, but also on the smooth operation of the systems.

Tight-knit network
Continental’s tight-knit network means that it can offer its customers a local service with everything from a single source, from technical advice, planning and engineer driven development all the way through to manufacturing, installation, commissioning, maintenance and monitoring for complex conveyor systems and delivery of conveyor belts and components.

“Our range of round-the-clock services also includes assistance with conveyor belt replacement and arranging for the belts to be vulcanized or repaired with local partners. With expert advice, emergency support and an extensive service offering that covers every special case, our technology ticks all the boxes when it comes to safety and flexibility requirements,” concludes Daniel.

Jochen Vennemann
Tel: +49 511 938 18024