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Tunnelling “bear” completes Austrian hydropower expansion

Extension of a hydropower plant in Fusch, Austria has reached a major milestone as the tunnel boring machine (TBM) completes the new headrace tunnel.

The Herrenknecht Gripper TBM, named Buddelbär which means digging bear, completed the 2.8km bore through hard rock in the Austrian Alps in six months.

The 3.83m diameter tunnel was advanced by tunnelling contractor Marti Tunnelbau at a rate of 322m per week at a gradient of 4.8%.

Completion of the upgrade at the Bärenwerk hydropower plant will increase capacity by a third to 14.96MW

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