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  • Writer's pictureWest Island News

An important REM construction milestone is complete

Alice, the infamous Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), has completed its tunnel to the Dorval Trudeau Airport. After two and a half years, the REM (Réseau Express Métropolitain) announced that the revolutionary machine drilled a total of 2.5 km of tunnel, installed 10,115 segments, and excavated more than 10,000 m3 of soil.

PHOTO: Réseau Express Métropolitain

The machine is the first of its kind in Québec in the sense that it can excavate and remove the material it is digging out at the same time. The REM website states that the TBM dug into the ground using cutter head bores measuring 7.38-meters in diameter. The 47 discs would each apply 25 tons of pressure as they broke up the ground. The excavated material was taken out from the ground by a worm screw, transferred to a belt conveyor, and then loaded into trucks at the end of the TBM for disposal. To create the tunnel, it installed prefabricated segments to make a waterproof ring. In all, 10,115 segments were installed by Alice.

PHOTO: Réseau Express Métropolitain

It required 60 trucks to transport the disassembled components of Alice, and she was officially assembled near the Saint-Laurent Technoparc. In the fall of 2019, the public submitted over 1,400 names as part of a contest to name the machine. The name Alice, in reference to Alice Evelyn Wilson, a Canadian geologist, and paleontologist, was chosen by their committee.

During its journey, some maintenance proceedings were operated. In 2021, to carry out this delicate operation while preserving the wetlands, the teams proceeded to freeze the soil with liquid nitrogen, which was injected deep into the ground.

For more updates surrounding the REM's construction, visit;

SOURCE: Réseau Express Métropolitain

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