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SME Annual Meeting

Feb. 28-Mar. 03, 2010, Phoenix, AZ

Preprint 10-108
(1994 2009)
B. Briggs, Atkinson Construction, Golden, CO.


Equipment Selection
As the project called for substantial amounts of shotcrete, the
selection of shotcrete application and on-site batching equipment was
critical to the success of the project. Atkinson Construction employed
the use of two robotic shotcrete arms manufactured by Shotcrete
Technologies for the project. The arms were mounted on flatbed truck
carriers with on-board shotcrete and accelerator pumps. The shotcrete
was produced on-site with a fully winterized plant capable of producing
40 CY/Hour. Delivery from the plant to the working faces was provided
by modified 8CY transit mixers.

Over the past 15 years, the tunneling industry has pushed

towards a higher degree of mechanization in nearly every phase of
construction. The overall objective of the mechanization was to
increase production and the level of safety in tunnel operations.
However, the overall complexity of some systems have been a
hindrance to a seamless transition to the newer technologies as
increased maintenance requirements and re-training of skilled workers
has altered the benefit curve for some innovations.
Atkinson Construction has been tracking production and safety
data for numerous drill and blast and NATM projects completed during
this time frame. The purpose of this paper will be to analyze the
relationship over the referenced time period between the increase in
mechanization with overall production rates and job safety.

The excavation suite of equipment included Tamrock H207B

Maximatic drill jumbos, various 5 and 3 CY LHDs, working in
conjunction with 26 Ton mine trucks.

The analytical data will be coupled with narrative accounts of the

projects to highlight the changes in technology along with the
successes and challenges in implementing the new developments into
a production tunneling environment.
The production information contained in this paper will revolve
around 5 primary projects, The Allegheny Tunnel Project, The P- 1
Pressure Tunnel, The Mission Valley NATM tunnel, Dulles East and
West APM NATM Tunnels, and a drill and blast tunnel in Utah for a
private customer. This paper will summarize each projects production
rates for the various tunneling methods. Secondarily, it will reduce the
data to similar unit operations to provide comparable data points
between projects.
The safety benefits realized by the increase in mechanization will
be analyzed on qualitative basis with a heavy emphasis placed upon
first hand narrative accounts of the individual projects.

Figure 1. Typical tunnel heading, Allegheny Tunnel Project, Altoona,



Production Summary
As stated above, shotcrete productivity was a critical component
to the success of the project. The Allegheny Tunnel was supported
with over 15,000 CY of fiber reinforced shotcrete; this equated to
approximately 4.3 cubic yards (CY) / Linear Feet (LF) of tunnel. The
average production rate achieved on the project was 0.86
Manhour(MHR)/ CY with peak performance reaching upwards of 0.5
MHR/CY. This equated to a typical placement rate of nearly 7 CY/HR
with peak placement rates nearing an average of 12CY/HR.

Project Overview
The Allegheny Tunnel is located near Altoona, Pa and owned by
The Consolidated Rail Corporation (CONRAIL).
The project consisted of the fast-track enlargement of two single
track rail tunnels totaling 4,300 feet in length to double-track structures,
including shotcrete and concrete lining. Utilization of both drill and
blast and mechanical methods were utilized to enlarge tunnels from 22
feet in diameter to 36 feet.

The excavation of the existing brick liner and the intact rock was
primarily performed using drill and blast techniques. The enlarged
profile required approximately 15 bank cubic yards (BCY)/LF of
excavation to reach the neat line excavation limit.
Construction realized an excavation rate of 0.495 MHR/BCY for the
61,000 BCY of excavation performed. This rate was inclusive of
drilling, blasting, smoke time and inspection, scaling and mucking.

The tunnel was driven utilizing sequential mining techniques

through shales, sandstones, limestones, silt stones, and coal beds.
Extensive consolidation grouting was performed to backfill unforeseen
caverns and voids from coal mining activities adjacent to the tunnel.
The primary excavation method was drill and blast mining of the
existing liner and intact ground. Mechanical excavation by hydraulic
hammer was used as a secondary means of excavation for short
segments of the tunnel run.

Resin grouted rock bolts and steel sets were also used as
additional ground support measures on the project. The bolts were
installed at a rate of 0.096 MHR/LF of bolt with the steel sets installed
at a rate of 0.012 MHR/LB of steel.

The ground supports consisted of steel sets, fiber reinforced

shotcrete, resin grouted rock bolts, wire mesh and consolidation

Copyright 2010 by SME

SME Annual Meeting

Feb. 28-Mar. 03, 2010, Phoenix, AZ
The drilling and loading operations were performed primarily by a
Tamrock Minimatic HS205D drill jumbo with two drill booms and center
manbasket boom.

Safety Narrative
The safety program on the project was tailored to maximize the
benefits of the mechanized gear. This project represented one the
earliest forays into the use of robotic shotcrete arms for Atkinson
Construction. The robotic placing system allowed for the nozzleman to
be a safe distance away from the placement area as well as limiting
operator fatigue. The use of exclusively wet shotcrete was also a vast
improvement over the dry shotcrete systems as it minimized the dust
hazard in the tunnel.

Production Summary
The production at the P-1 tunnel was extremely consistent and
overall very good. On a 24 hr/ day 3 shift schedule the tunnel
averaged 18ft/day of tunnel advance from a single heading.
equated to an excavation production rate of 6.15 MHR / LF or 0.465
MHR /BCY. This rate includes the drill, load, blast and mucking cycles.

The excavation suite of equipment was also selected to minimize

exposure to unsupported ground. This proved to be extremely
beneficial in the poor ground condition areas and allowed the work to
be completed with limited exposure to the hazards.

The steel sets were installed at a production rate of 0.011 MHR

/LB of steel and the timbering was installed at a rate of 5.8 MHR/Set.
Safety Narrative
Overall the safety performance on this project was excellent.
However, this was much more a function of the repetitive nature of
most of the tasks and a strong field supervision staff versus the
benefits of mechanized equipment. The steel sets were erected
manually with minor assistance from powered equipment to help carry
the load. The lagging and blocking were also set manually.

P-1 PRESSURE TUNNEL (1996 -1998)

Project Overview
The P-1 Pressure tunnel was comprised of 2,500ft. of drill and
blast tunnel supported primarily by steel sets and lagging. A 16ft.
diameter concrete encased steel pipe was placed as the final
configuration inside of the 20ft x 20 ft. tunnel. This tunnel connects the
P-1 Pumping Plant with the Inlet / Outlet works for the reservoir now
called Diamond Valley Lake near Winchester CA. This tunnel is the
primary structure used for moving water into or out of the water storage
reservoir and is designed to handle flows of 2,100 cubic feet per
second. The geology consisted of primarily granite diorite.


TUNNEL (2001-2003)
Project Overview
A portion of the Mission Valley Light Rail Transit Extension
contract contained 1,085ft. of underground tunneling via the New
Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) at the San Diego State University
campus. The excavated 37ft. wide x 29ft. high single-tube double
track NATM design replaced an original longer tunnel alignment based
on twin tube, segmentally lined running tunnels. Excavation was via a
Liebherr mechanical excavator through a conglomerate geology
comprised of hard round cobbles and occasional boulders held in a
sandy clay matrix. Sixteen meter long grouted canopy tubes, lattice
girders and shotcrete were used as primary tunnel support. Dust and
noise control was also a major requirement as the University was
within close proximity.

Figure 2. P-1 Pressure Tunnel, Winchester CA.

As work was being performed on the east side of the tunnel, the
P-1 tunnel was driven primarily from the West Portal. The entire length
of the tunnel was excavated using drill and blast techniques and
support by timber lagged steel sets on 2ft, 4ft, or 6ft centers depending
on the ground conditions.
Equipment Selection
The primary focus on equipment selection for this project was
based from a cost benefit study performed prior to the start of the
project. The study concluded that the most cost effective excavation
scenario was to construct passing bays for multiple LHDs instead of a
using a muck bay system with 40 ft bays installed on 500 ft centers.

Figure 3. Mission Valley East Light Rail Transit Extension NATM

Tunnel, San Diego, CA.
Equipment Selection
As the cobbles and boulders were hard materials, a Liebherr 902
tunnel excavator with digging bucket and quick connect hydraulic
hammer was the primary means of excavation for the project. The
spoils were removed from the face and trammed to the dump area by
3.5 CY LHDs. The top heading excavation averaged over 8CY of
shotcrete per LF of tunnel. As a result, shotcrete equipment selection
was again critical on this project.

Consequently, selection of the proper LHDs was quite important.

Atkinson procured a Wagner ST8B 8CY LHD as the primary mucker
with a ST5B 5 CY LHD and two 4CY JCI 400m LHDs to perform the
work. The additional units were added to the fleet to insure that
equipment downtime would not be a major issue on the project
especially with the longer than normal tramming to be performed.
Removable man safe work platforms were fabricated to allow the
LHDs to be used as a work platform for utility installation and other
work activities at heights in the tunnel.

Atkinson placed an RPM shotcrete plant on the job site capable of

producing over 30CY per hour. Delivery of the shotcrete to the
excavation was made by modified 8CY Diesel Transit Mixers. The

Copyright 2010 by SME

SME Annual Meeting

Feb. 28-Mar. 03, 2010, Phoenix, AZ
shotcrete was placed using a Shotcrete Technology robotic boom and
nozzle carried on a flat bad truck with an onboard accelerator pump
and accelerator storage and a shotcrete pump attached to the rear of
the carrier.

machine. The roadheaders transferred the muck using the onboard

chain conveyors to LHD buckets positioned to receive the loads. The
geology at the Dulles airport was ideal for roadheader excavation, as
the picks easily excavated the material and the stand up time of the
ground was more than sufficient to allow for initial flash coat of
shotcrete prior to spalling.

Production Summary
In general terms the top heading excavation proceeded at
approximately 1 lattice girder placed per 8 hour shift. This equated to
heading excavation production rate of 0.316 MHR/BCY and a
shotcrete placement rate of 1.5 Mhr/CY or approximately 5.5 CY / hr.

As a NATM project, shotcrete delivery needs dictated an on-site

batch plant be utilized. The project used a Terex mobile plant as the
plant to service both projects. The shotcrete was delivered from the
plants to shotcrete pumps located on the surface. The pumps were
connected to slicklines that descended the open cut shafts and brought
the material to the shotcrete robots. The robots for the project were a
mixed assortment of Shotcrete Technology and Meyco Arms on
various carriers. All the robots also used peristaltic accelerator pumps
with digital controls to provide maximum control of the accelerator use
to ensure a high quality final product.

Safety Narrative
The selection of highly mechanized equipment had an extremely
positive impact on this project. The combination of tunnel excavators
and robotic shotcrete arms allowed for excavation and initial support to
be installed without exposing any miners to open ground. The
installation of the lattice girders was aided by telescopic boom forklifts
with manbasket attachments. This allowed for the girders to be lifted,
placed and aligned mechanically with only minor adjustments and
hardware installation performed manually.

Production Summary
The layout of the project split the footage between five separate
access shafts and six individual NATM tunnel drives. Furthermore, the
top heading and benches were excavated as separate operations as
well. As a result, the roadheaders were routinely trammed between
headings to maximize overall job production at the cost of lower
individual heading productions.


AIRPORT (2004-2005)
Project Overview
The West Domestic Automated Mover (APM) Tunnel was
constructed on the west side Dulles Airport (near Washington DC) for
the purpose of providing rapid passenger transportation from the Main
Terminal building to the West APM station located on the west side of
Concourse B. A portion of the total work package included the
construction of approximately 1,861 linear feet of approximately 25 ft.
diameter tunnel by NATM methods.

The typical top heading advance rate on the project was 3.2 LF/ 8
hr shift. This rate breaks down to a 4CY/ HR shotcrete production rate,
and an average excavation rate (roadhead and muck) of 2.8 LF/HR.
The resultant manhour based production rate for the project were 1.75
MHR/CY for shotcreting and 0.17 MHR/BCY for excavating.

The East Domestic Automated People Mover (APM) Tunnel was

constructed on the east side of the Washington Dulles International
Airport for the purpose of providing rapid passenger transportation
from the Main Terminal building to the proposed APM stations located
on the east of the existing Concourse B, and the future Tiers 2 and 3.
A portion of the total work package included the construction of 825
linerar feet of approximately 25ft. diameter tunnel by NATM methods.
The method of excavation for the NATM tunnels was via an AM75 Roadheader manufactured by Voest-Alpine. Geology was a
mixture of siltstone, mudstone and sandstone. The support of
excavation included lattice girders, shotcrete, spiling and canopy
tubes. Dust control was also critical as to not impede Traffic Controllers
view of the airfield. All water had to be treated to potable standards
before its release into local waterways.

Figure 5. Dulles NATM Tunnel, hole through.

Safety Narrative
The safety program at the Dulles NATM tunnels benefited from
the past experiences gained at the Mission Valley Tunnels. The ability
to mechanize much of the traditional heavy labor required in the tunnel
greatly lessened the miners exposures to hazards and falling ground.
As a result, the combination of experience and mechanization helped
create a safe work environment and minimized the contractors
exposure to job hazards.
TO 2008)

Figure 4. Dulles NATM Tunnel, Roadheader Excavation.

Project Overview
This project consisted of 15 ft. x15 ft. modified horseshoe tunnel
at a length of 7992 LF. The project also included the construction of
multiple drill stations, sump stations, muck bays, and facilities.

Equipment Selection
As stated above, an AM-75 Roadheader was employed as the
primary means of excavation with an AM-50 as the back-up / trimming

The project was constructed entirely in hard rock using drill and
blast techniques. The geology consisted primarily of monzonites and
quartz monzonite porphyry with intrusive dikes of varying composition.

Copyright 2010 by SME

SME Annual Meeting

Feb. 28-Mar. 03, 2010, Phoenix, AZ
The use of the Cannon Bolters for the installation of 8 ft long #7
resin grouted rock bolts resulted in an average production rate of 4.45
bolts/ hr which equates to 0.17 MHR/LF.
The excavation rate for the project, (Drill, Load, Blast, Scale, &
Muck) averaged 1.72 hr/LF of tunnel or 0.467 MHR/ BCY.
Safety Narrative
The use of highly mechanized equipment fleet was designed to
eliminate the potential hazards associated with having miners working
under unsupported ground. This goal was achieved on the project and
consequently greatly reduced Atkinsons exposure to catastrophic
injuries. The increased risk of injury occurring to miners working in
close proximity to automated heavy equipment was greatly mitigated
through the proactive use of a comprehensive Job Hazard Analysis
and Equipment Risk Assessment program. Overall, this project
represented a significant success in regards to safety practices as well
as safety performance.
Production Analysis Overview
The original objective of this document was to explore the
Grumpy Old Man principle, or as we call it at Atkinson, the Pete
Hancock principle. This principle basically suggests that mining
production has significantly slowed as more technological advances
have been introduced into the production cycle.

Figure 6. Utah Drill and Blast Tunnel.

This project utilized a highly mechanized fleet for all aspects of
the tunneling operation. For drilling Cannon DPI-2-HE Jumbos were
purchased new and fabricated for the project along with Cannon DPIHD-RB3-8 bolting machines.

The case studies above provide a strong basis to suggest that the
principle has actual merit and should be analyzed on a unit operation

Atkinson employed a 7 CY MTI LT-950 along with JCI 700ms as

the LHDs for the project. Muck Bays were placed on 500 LF centers
for temporary muck storage then loaded out of the critical path into 16
ton MTI DT-1604 underground rear dump trucks.

Shotcrete Production
As the table shows, shotcrete production has slowed considerably
over the past 15 years. Examining the equipment used for each
project helps to justify the pattern shown. The robots used for the
Allegheny Tunnel were extremely basic units with limited moving parts
and mounted on very robust domestic carriers. The accelerator was
delivered to the nozzle using simple stainless steel barrel pumps. The
overall result was a highly productive system with very little downtime.

For shotcreting , Atkinson employed a self contained Putzmiester

shotcrete Robot as well as a Shotcrete Technologies robotic arm
placed on a Kubota Tractor carrier. The shotcrete was batched on-site
using a Mixer Systems Inc. Model 54 Praschak Paddle Mixer batch

Table 1. Shotcrete Production Rates

Mission V



The later projects all employed more sophisticated robots,

peristaltic accelerator pumps with digital controls, and in some cases
integrated pumps attached to the carriers. The added controls in the
shotcrete mitigate overall costs by placing adequate controls on the
metering of accelerator and consequently reducing rebound. The
downside is realized in increased stoppages of production due to minor
problems in any of the integrated systems.
The other factor to be considered is the individual characteristics
of each project. The Allegheny Tunnel represented a nearly ideal
shotcrete application. The tunnels were easily accessible by 8 CY
transit mixers and large quantities were applied on each setup
resulting in high production rates. The later projects all required less
efficient shotcrete delivery systems due to project logistics. Secondly,
the project designs impacted the production as well. Mission Valley,
Dulles and Utah all had requirements for sealing shotcrete layers, this
negatively impacted the production rates as more set ups and
teardowns were required to achieve the same quantities.

Figure 7. Cannon DPI-2-HE Drill Jumbo.

Production Summary
Shotcrete application was a major component of the production
cycle on the project. The typical ground support installed was
approximately 1.2 CY/ LF of tunnel. This represented approximately
double the anticipated quantity for the project. Consequently, the
batching and delivery systems for the project were somewhat
undersized. The result was a lower than anticipated shotcrete
application rate of approximately 3 CY/HR which equated to 1.67

Therefore, it can be concluded that the production rates for

shotcrete have indeed been negatively impacted over time with several
mitigating circumstances.

Copyright 2010 by SME

SME Annual Meeting

Feb. 28-Mar. 03, 2010, Phoenix, AZ
geometry of the situation did not allow for the stinger on the bolter to
typically be flush with the excavation profile. This resulted in manual
resin placement in many situations followed by a realignment of the
boom to install the bolt.
Nevertheless, it can also be concluded that that the production
rates for the installation of resin bolts has also been negatively
impacted over time.
As the table indicates, the excavation production rate as defined
by this paper is dependent primarily on excavation type, not by date of
the project.
Table 3. Combined Excavation Production Rates
Mission V

Figure 8. Robotic Shotcrete Placement, Dulles NATM Tunnels.

Rock Bolting Production
Production rock bolting was a critical path activity on only two of
the case studies analyzed. Both projects employed similar diameter
bars of similar length with resin grout. The vast difference in rates can
be attributed almost entirely to the equipment used for installation.
Table 2. Rock Bolting Production Rates.


The three drill and blast excavations analyzed all achieved very
similar production rates for the drill, blast and muck cycles when
leveled by manhours and excavation quantity. The conclusion can be
made that the increased mechanization in the drill jumbos, (anti-jam
technology, computer assisted drilling, auto return, etc.) have not
resulted in a significant production gain over the past 15 years.
The two mechanical excavations at Mission Valley and Dulles
provide an interesting contrast to the drill and blast rates and highlight
the production gains that can be achieved in suitable materials.



At the Allegheny Tunnel, the bolting was performed by the

Tamrock Drill Jumbo working in conjunction with a JLG type
manbasket for the bolts at height. The changes between the drill steel
and bolt adapter were done manually as well as manual insertion of
the resin in the hole.

Although the analysis over time bears out the Hancock principle
that production has slowed, the increase in miner safety is more than
an ample trade off. The development of the modern gear is pulling the
miners away from the unsupported excavation face and successfully
limiting the more dangerous hazards encountered during the typical
excavation cycle.

At the Utah project, the bolting was performed using a Canon

bolter. The entire operation was automated. From a single set-up the
machine was designed to drill the hole, insert the resin with a
pneumatic shooter, take a bolt off the carousel , attach it to the bolt
adapter, insert the bolt through the resin and spin the bolt to mix the

Supplementing the technological advances in the equipment,

systematic cultural changes in the Atkinson safety program have also
increased the overall job safety on all projects. The implementation of
proactive hazard communication programs,
increases in safety
training, and active participation of both labor and management in the
program, coupled with equipment safety advances have enabled
Atkinson to successfully limit many hazards on the job sites.
The simple conclusion is that mechanization has had a negative
impact on production rates and positive impact on safety. However,
not only would that be admitting that Pete was correct, but it ignores
many of the mitigating factors in regards to the production rates. The
increasing complexity in project designs, increased scopes of quality
control testing, increased instrumentation, and variations in the quality
of regional workforces all should be considered when comparing rates.
As a result perhaps a better conclusion is that the mechanization has
had substantial impact on all facets of the tunneling industry and will
continue to do so in coming years.

Figure 9. Bolt Installation, Utah Project.

As with the shotcrete, the simpler set-up achieved an apparent
higher production rate. However it should be stated that the Canon
bolter was used in a less than ideal situation. The geological
structures on the project resulted in quite blocky ground leaving an
irregular surface on the modified horeshoe arch. Consequently, the

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