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RECORD BREAKER: The first of 54 'convois exceptionels' heavy lorries began hauling pieces of the world's largest TBM from its factory in France to site at Groenhart, Netherlands, as NCE went to press. The gargantuan machine, 14.90m in diameter, was built by NFM Technology at Le Creusot in mid-west France and is so large that transport was a critical design factor. The biggest individual piece will be an 8m wide motor unit but to avoid bridges and obstacles the TBM will travel to Chalon and be taken by barge on the Saone river to the Mediterranean. The parts will travel by ship before a final road journey to site between Rotterdam and Amsterdam. French contractor Bouygues Travaux Publics is to construct 10km of the new High Speed Line Zuid below canals, drainage ditches, and traditional windmills.

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