Successful immersion first section of tunnel

19 February 2008

During a marathon session on the morning of Tuesday, 19 February, Strukton Afzinktechnieken successfully immersed the first of a total of eighteen sections of tunnel, which are to form the Busan-Geoje Fixed Link in South Korea.


The highly complex operation was led by Immersion Supervisor Peter van Westendorp. “Despite the fact that the deepest tunnel section is to be laid at a depth of 60 metres, this first one was nevertheless the most difficult. The team had to become accustomed to using the new innovative systems, while the section itself had to be carefully manoeuvred into a cove between the rocks, with less than a metre of clearance on either side.”

The weather and the waves in particular might well have ruined the entire operation. However, the traditional Korean prayer ceremony performed before the four tugs took charge of the tunnel section for its 30-kilometre trip to its destination appeared to have appeased the weather gods.

The team representing Strukton Afzinktechnieken, which operates under the name Mergor, was highly praised by Mr Yang, Project Director representing the customer, Daewoo. “We are firm proponents of the Dutch approach in general, and that of Strukton in particular: sensible, systematic, calm, bold and transparent. This is a particularly fine team to work with on such a highly complex operation.”

Apart from Strukton, several other Dutch companies are involved in the project, including Tunnel Engineering Consultants (TEC).

This project is highly significant to Korea. The fixed link between the nation’s second largest city, Busan, and the island of Geoje will serve as a major link in the economic growth and development of the southern region of Korea.

Two colossal submersible pontoons were designed and built in a record-breaking period of just six months. The pontoons comprise many state-of–the-art features, designed to render them entirely remote controlled.