Mission accomplished. In 32 days. It took that long to dig the 234 meters separating the two banks of the harbour access channel. The mechanical ‘mole’ has done its job, drilling the perimeter wall of the recovery well on the Calata del Magnale between Saturday and Sunday.
The massive vehicle, which bored underground at a depth of 23 meters from the coastline starting from the Marzocco tower where the drive shaft is located, – will be removed over the next few days.
In the meantime, the recovery shaft has been hydraulically balanced i.e. previously flooded to avoid dangerous infiltrations of water and sand when the Tunnel Boring Machine passes through. It will take a few more days before the excavation area will be accessible again, just enough time to carry out some sealing operations and plug any water leaks.
Considering the time needed to remove all the equipment and piping used for the operation from the work site and the time that the Port Authority will take to check the tunnel is safe, it will take another two and a half months before the process is completed.
At that point, the underground tunnel can be handed over to Eni. Eni will start to install the new pipes that will link up the Stagno Refinery with the Darsena Petroli oil terminal, and remove the old ones. The old pipes are annoyingly located deep down along the banks of the only way in and out of the Darsena Toscana and create havoc for large ships during maneuvers,
Eliminating this obstacle will allow large container ships to enter and leave the port without too many problems. In short, for Livorno it means being able to be ready for the Darsena Europa, the seaward expansion project with which the Port Authority intends to meet new traffic development targets.
Translation by Giles Foster