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September 2014

Elbedüker Hetlingen

The new building provides an empty pipe under the Elbe, from the coast of Schleswig-Holstein at the community Hetlingen over to the Elbe island Lühesand in Lower Saxony.

The pipe replaces an existing structure, which is no longer conforming to the latest safety requirements. Thus, the current channel is partially already not far enough below the river bottom. In the context of the forthcoming Elbe dredging the old pipe moves also continuous toward the river ground.

Therefore, the ARGE Elbedüker (Fa. A.Hak Drillcon from the Netherlands) build the new tunnel by order of the operating company Gasunie / Open Grid Europe.


The purpose of the new building, it is mainly to serve as a carrier for two high-pressure gas pipelines with 750 mm diameters, which are deeply involved in the pan-European gas network and as a contribution to the gas-supply of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, but also for a connection to the Scandinavian market.

The same applies for the fibre optic cables to be laid for the further improvement and development of the communications market.

TheGasunieas a companyin the commoditiesmarkethasveryhighsecurityconcepts thathave to be fulfilledduring construction.

The VMT GmbH is with their subsidiaries and affiliates ITC Engineering, Bechler Kommunikationstechnik and Checkpoint Vermessung supplier for quality assurance in many aspects:

The navigation of the tunnel boring machine, which ascends a tunnel with a diameter of 2400 mm, is controlled by means of the VMT system SLS Microtunnelling LT. This system is based on the technology of ride-on laser, which is an over the years proven and perfected type of VMT navigation.


Through the network-side connection to the PLC (programmable logic controller) of the Herrenknecht tunnel boring machine there will be a permanent ongoing data collection of all available machine data.

In order to use this large inflow of data effectively and preventively and evaluate it, the web-based data management system IRIS.microtunnel fits excellent. This is a product which has been developed in cooperation between the VMT and the ITC Engineering GmbH & Co KG.

In this system accumulating data can be recorded and processed in various fields. This project is specifically for engineering and navigation data, as well as the connection to a GeoScanner (acoustic measurement system for the determination of particle sizes and distribution of the transported material on the conveyor line) as well as the realization of an automatic alarming when limits are exceeded.

Before the operation of the pipe jacking started, a target support pressure calculation has taken place. For projects, as in this case, a non-disruptive crossing of the Elbe, such a mathematical consideration previously is necessary. IRIS.microtunnel monitors the compliance of the target support pressures with a concurrent consideration of the Tide of the Elbe, which exerting an influences here.

The safety concept of the site is realized through the communication infrastructure HADES: The wireless and fiber-based system is a supplier of video images and gas detection values, provides the network connection for the installed geoscanne, equips the staff on site with mobile phone and integrated gas and fire alarm and provides an access control into the shaft via RFID tags.

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