Episode 1: Tunnel Machine Mega Move
This film charts the high-stakes exploits of engineers and construction crews as they race to move the world’s largest Tunnel Boring Machine from Germany to Florence to build a hugely ambitious mountain super-highway in Italy.
Italian engineer Alberto Selleri is charged with building the country’s most ambitious new stretch of highway – the ‘Variante de Valico’– but he faces a problem. He needs to excavate the 2.5km-long Sparvo Tunnel through the Apennine mountain chain to complete the 70km road that will connect Florence with Bologna.
But the mountain rock is impenetrable. To burrow this titanic tube, the construction crew need to call in the world’s biggest tunnel boring machine – or TBM. Specially built in a remarkable factory in Schwanau, Germany, the TBM is a gigantic rock-eating factory. It weighs almost 4,300-tons, has a cutter head 10-metres in diameter and stretches over 120-metres long. Moving this mega machine 6000km from the factory to the tunnel construction site near Florence by land and sea will be a huge engineering challenge.