NORFOLK, Va.—Trelleborg A.B.'s Engineered Products business has cracked a key market in the U.S. with its Gina and Omega seals.
Its range of high performance seals are being used in the construction of a second Midtown Tunnel, a $2.1 billion public private partnership project comprised of the Virginia Department of Transportation and Elizabeth River Crossings OpCo L.L.C.
The Midtown Tunnel project is expected to be completed in the last quarter of 2016, a Trelleborg spokeswoman said.
ERC is a private firm that's financing, designing, operating and maintaining the project for a term of 58 years. The company contracted with SKW Constructors as the design build contractor. Parsons Brinckerhoff is the lead designer supporting SKW.
Parsons selected Ridderkerk, Nether-lands-based Trelleborg Engineered Prod-ucts' seals to prevent water ingress with-in the immersed tunnel, which consists of 11 rectangular tunnel elements, each of which was fitted with Gina and Omega gaskets.
Trelleborg was picked, the firm said, due to the high stability, flexibility and low aging of the company's seals.
“Immersed tunnels are on the increase, especially in the U.S. where investment for infrastructure is growing,” according to Andre de Graaf, sales manager for Trelleborg Engineered Products. “Our immersed tunnel seals are renowned and used globally on major tunnel projects.
“We've had considerable success in Europe and China and are very pleased to be specified in this U.S. project.”
He said the Gina gasket is made from natural rubber combined with varying hardness. It's supplied as a closed rectangular frame to seal each sectional element.
The Omega seal connects each segment together. It's made from multiple layers of SBR and nylon inlayers to improve durability, de Graaf said. The combination of the two seals enables the transfer of hydrostatic loads and movements between the tunnel ends, generally caused by soil settlement, creep of concrete, temperature effects and earthquakes, he said.
Each 48 meter circumference tunnel element will be immersed beneath the Elizabeth River to relieve congestion for the original Midtown Tunnel, which currently carries about a million vehicles each month between Portsmouth and Norfolk, Trelleborg said.
The new tunnel also is expected to improve safety by eliminating bi-directional traffic, as is the case with the first Midtown Tunnel, it added.