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Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers to Sell Tunnel Boring Machine at Perris, Calif., Location

Sat May 09, 2009 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers is selling a single shield 450-ft. (137 m) long, 820-ton (743 t), self-propelling, hard rock tunnel boring machine (TBM) with trailing gear at an upcoming three-day unreserved auction in Los Angeles from May 20 to 22.

The TBM is 19 ft. (5.8 m) in diameter and was built to specification by German-based manufacturer Herrenknecht for the underground mining of the Arrowhead West Tunnel, just one of three water tunnels advanced in the Arrowhead Inland Feeder project managed by the Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of Southern California. The TBM will be sold May 22 to the highest bidder, regardless of price, with no minimum bids or reserve prices.

“We’re very excited at the opportunity to bring a global market to the sale of a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment as unique as the tunnel boring machine consigned to us by the Metropolitan Water District,” said Richard Aldersley, Ritchie Bros. divisional manager. “It’s the first time in the history of Ritchie Bros. we’ve sold a utility-based tunnel boring machine in its entirety of such an immense size. I actually had the opportunity to go down into the water tunnel while the TBM was mining and it was incredibly impressive.”

Mining on the 3.8-mi. (6.1 km) Arrowhead West Tunnel broke ground in August of 2008. Designed to mine through hard rock, the TBM was modified with a soft ground shield that enabled it to work in earth balance pressure mode for short periods of time to control ground water volume and pressure while mining. A specialized cutterhead configuration, drilling and probing capabilities and a sophisticated laser guidance system are other unique features of the machine.

More than a year ago the Metropolitan Water District decided to sell the TBM through Ritchie Bros. “As a public agency we wanted to create a level playing field for buyers and an unreserved auction affords us that opportunity,” said John Bednarski, program manager of the Arrowhead Tunnels Project. “We were also attracted to Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers’ ability to globally market equipment as unique as the TBM to many international buyers. That just creates more opportunities to have a good competitive auction — more than we would be able to do on our own. We’re confident we’ll get the highest price possible on auction day for the TBM. It is a strong, robust design that could be used in the mining of similar sized tunnels or even modified for use in a tunnel project with less challenging conditions than those we experienced.”

The TBM is located at the Ritchie Bros Los Angeles auction yard, located at 765 W. Rider St. in Perris, Calif. Interested buyers can inspect the TBM in the yard prior to auction day by contacting the Los Angeles auction site, 951/940-9441.

The auction is open to the public; registration to bid is free.

Internet bidders must register online before auction day; at least 2-3 business days is recommended for first-time internet bidders.

For more information, call 951/940-9441 or visit

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