Ritchie Bros. to Auction Tunnel Boring Machine in Los Angeles

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers , the world’s largest industrial auctioneer, is selling a single shield 450-foot long, 820-ton, self-propelling, hard rock tunnel boring machine (TBM) with trailing gear at an upcoming three-day unreserved auction in Los Angeles from May 20 to 22, 2009. The TBM is 19 feet in diameter and was built to specification by German-based manufacturer Herrenknecht for the underground mining of the Arrowhead West Tunnel, just one of three water tunnels advanced in the Arrowhead Inland Feeder project managed by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California. The TBM will be sold during Day Three (Friday, May 22nd) of the three-day unreserved auction to the highest bidder, regardless of price, with no minimum bids or reserve prices.

“We’re very excited at the opportunity to bring a global market to the sale of a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment as unique as the tunnel boring machine consigned to us by the Metropolitan Water District,” said Richard Aldersley, Ritchie Bros. Divisional Manager. “It’s the first time in the history of Ritchie Bros. we’ve sold a utility-based tunnel boring machine in its entirety of such an immense size. I actually had the opportunity to go down into the water tunnel while the TBM was mining and it was incredibly impressive.”

Mining on the 3.8-mile Arrowhead West Tunnel broke ground in August of 2008. Designed to mine through hard rock, the TBM was modified with a soft ground shield that enabled it to work in earth balance pressure mode for short periods of time to control ground water volume and pressure while mining. A specialized cutterhead configuration, drilling and probing capabilities and a sophisticated laser guidance system are other unique features of the machine.

Over a year ago the Metropolitan Water District decided to sell the TBM through Ritchie Bros. “As a public agency we wanted to create a level playing field for buyers and an unreserved auction affords us that opportunity,” says John Bednarski, Program Manager of the Arrowhead Tunnels Project. “We were also attracted to Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers’ ability to globally market equipment as unique as the TBM to many international buyers. That just creates more opportunities to have a good competitive auction-more than we would be able to do on our own. We’re confident we’ll get the highest price possible on auction day for the TBM. It is a strong, robust design that could be used in the mining of similar sized tunnels or even modified for use in a tunnel project with less challenging conditions than those we experienced.”

Interesting Facts: —————— – The Arrowhead Inland Feeder project is a 44-mile long conveyance system that connects the State Water Project to Diamond Valley Lake and the Colorado River Aqueduct. It features 26 miles of buried pipeline and three tunnels spanning 18 miles – Once completed in 2010, the network of pipes and tunnels will give the Metropolitan Water District the capacity to transport up to 1,000 cubic feet per second of water which is enough to fill an Olympic- sized swimming pool in less than 30 seconds – The TBM was equipped with on-board thrust rams that pushed against installed concrete segments to move the machine through the mountain with a motive force equivalent to that needed to launch the Atlantis Space Shuttle – Advancing the Arrowhead West Tunnel took five years to complete. On peak production days the TBM was capable of advancing up to 80 feet in a 24-hour work cycle; average tunneling rates were in excess of 20 feet per day at a maximum depth of 1,100 feet below ground Auction Details: —————- – Location: The TBM is located at the Ritchie Bros Los Angeles auction yard at 765 W. Rider Street, Perris, CA. Interested buyers can inspect the TBM in the yard prior to auction day by contacting the Los Angeles auction site tel: +1.951.940.9441 – Time and date: 8:00 a.m. auction start each day, Wednesday, May 20 to Friday, May 22, 2009. The TBM will be sold on Day Three (Friday, May 22, 2009) along with other mining and tunneling equipment. – The auction is open to the public; registration to bid is free – Internet bidders must register online before auction day at www.rbauction.com; at least 2-3 business days is recommended for first-time internet bidders – Further information about the Herrenknecht hard rock TBM (including photos) are available on the Ritchie Bros. web site at www.rbauction.com/tbm

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