On 18 March 2020, JSC Mosinzhproekt (Russia) successfully achieved the record title for most tunnel boring machines operating simultaneously on a single project with 23 machines in Moscow.
Imagine the noise as 23 machines burrow into the ground - on a mission to improve the Moscow Metro, part of which is the Large Circle Line (LCL).
The LCL is one of the largest projects in the Moscow metro construction.
Since 2011, JSC Mosinzhproekt built 98 km of metro lines, 48 stations and 10 depots in Moscow.
The first section of the line was officially launched in February 2018, while the rest of the line is due to be completed by 2022.
13 machines concentrated solely on the LCL, whilst the rest of the machines worked on three other lines. The length of the line will be 70 km with 31 stations.
When JSC Mosinzhproekt announced that they planned to use 23 tunnel boring machines (also known as TBMs), they wondered whether this would break a world record, as it had never been done in Russian, or global, history.
There were 48 witnesses at each construction site to film the underground action.
The footage was then reviewed by an official Guinness World Records adjudicator to confirm the record achievement.
Mosinzhproekt JSC is the single operator engaged in the design and construction of these new Moscow metro lines.
The dynamic excavations required a high level of excellence and courage from the metro builders.
Deadlines for the LCL had been extended several times, mainly due to various technical difficulties and challenging ground conditions.
For example, much of the work has been through geological conditions associated with a high landscape hazards and flowing groundwater.
In technical terms, each tunnel of the LCL is completely different.
As most of the stations of the line are built at a shallow depth, the construction works are conducted in water-saturated soils and difficult groundwater conditions.
JSC Mosinzhproekt also needed to consider existing underground structures.
Because of this, a special system of underground monitoring was used so that the structures would remain intact during the construction works.
"The fact that our professional accomplishments were recognised by the world community speaks for the high efficiency of the entire team of Mosinzhproekt, which has become one of the top-ranked engineering holdings in Russia over the past decade" - Mars Gazizullin, Chairman, Board of Directors of Mosinzhproekt
According to the Deputy Moscow Mayor for Urban Development and Construction Andrey Bochkarev, the most difficult sections of the project have been completed, with more than 80% of LCL tunnel excavation now finished.
The length of the metro lines is planned to exceed 600 kilometers by 2023. Once this project is completed, 94% of Muscovites will have metro near their home.