Germany’s Bauer has started work to retrieve a tunnel boring machine that became stuck during civil works on the first phase of Line Three on the Cairo Metro.

The machine was being operated by the construction consortium led by France’s Vinci. Part of the tunnel collapsed when the machine became stuck.

Bauer has now started measures to recover the machine by sinking a shaft into the ground.

A Bauer company spokesman tells MEED that the soil was then “iced with injections” to stabilise the ground which will eventually lead to the recovery of the machine. The process of sinking the shaft is nearly finished and the whole recovery process is expected to take several weeks, the spokesman says.

Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT), owners of the Cairo Metro project, are currently investigating the circumstances which led to the machine becoming stuck and the collapse of the tunnel.

Construction work on phase one is more than 60 per cent complete and is scheduled to be finished in October 2011.

Vinci is contracted to work on phases one and two. NAT is expected to invite contractors to bid on phase three work in the second half of 2010.

Line three will be 30 kilometres long when complete. Cairo also plans to develop another three lines to add 60 kilometres to the network by 2022.