The Herrenknecht company specializes in tunnel-boring equipment. Three of its enormous drilling machines tare in Mexico to solve an equally massive problem: the inadequate drainage and wastewater system of Mexico City.
The Mexican government is building what will be the world's longest wastewater tunnel, the 62-kilometer "Tunél Emisor Oriente. Our four-part series by Alexa Meyer and Patrick Benning describes the challenges faced by the engineers and the tunneling crew.
Part 1 - The Challenge
The first episode shows the assembly of the first boring machine in Germany and describes the consequences of frequent flooding on the inhabitants of the Mexican capital. The tunnel project is in a race against time to protect the city against catastrophic future flooding.
Part 2 - The Plan
In part two, the first of three machines is delivered to Mexican authorities at the Herrenknecht factory in Germany; and preparations get underway on site in Mexico City. The new tunnel is set to be completed in 2012. Until then, protective barriers and pumps keep the city above water.
Part 3 - Setbacks
In part three of our series, the tunnel diggers from Germany start work on the massive project to save Mexico City from its waste water, but immediately face the problem of water seepage. The machines have to be secured and repaired, and valuable time is lost. The deadline for completing the tunnel becomes more and more unrealistic.
Part 4 - The breakthrough
In this fourth and final installment, the Mexican government takes ownership of the Herrenknecht drilling machines. But first the machines have to prove that they are up for the job. And engineers on both sides are involved lively discussions about who is responsible for the mistakes and mishaps of the last few months.