custom-designed tunnel pipe systems
- Aalberts integrated piping systems provides complex tunnelling solutions
- awarded the contract to provide couplings, fittings and valves for a road tunnel on Taiwan’s Suhua Highway
Across the Asia-Pacific region, governments are investing heavily in road and rail infrastructure projects that involve tunnelling underwater, through mountain ranges, and below urban environments as they improve the region’s connections. With the majority of the work outsourced to external parties, contractors need to be able to demonstrate not only their expertise and engineering abilities, but also reliability and a high degree of flexibility.
At Aalberts integrated piping systems, providing complex tunnelling solutions is all in a day’s work. In 2018, we were awarded the contract to provide the couplings, fittings and valves for a road tunnel on Taiwan’s Suhua Highway, a notorious road built high above the Pacific Ocean. With the road frequently closed due to heavy rain, typhoons, or landslides, the government decided to implement the Suhua Highway Improvement Project, which involved replacing coastal roads with tunnels running inland through the mountains.
"There are only a handful of companies globally that can provide pipe fittings for tunnelling projects that provide the highest quality standards, high pressure ratings and bespoke design variations," says Joshua Collins, APAC sales director at Aalberts integrated piping systems. "We are one of them. For the Suhua Highway Improvement Project, the initial specification called for a 12 inch pipe running the length of a 13km tunnel, incorporating fire protection, cooling, and potable water. During the tunnel's development these specifications were changed to a 10 inch pipe, so we had to essentially custom-design parts of the pipe and valve system."
Because of the inherent complexity of tunnelling, requirements can and do change frequently, including during construction. “This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to have local expertise,” says Joshua. “In Taiwan, for example, we have five specialists who were on hand to make changes to the pipe requirements. But no matter where we’re working, we’re able to offer an almost unmatched array of pipe sizes and specifications, from half an inch all the way through to 104 inches. That’s what customers expect and what we strive to deliver.”