CREC 1403 was manufactured by CREG at its factory in Tianjin, China.

The EPBM is approximately 251m long, weighs around 2300 tonnes and has a diameter of 9.48m. It has a double-shell shield to address the challenging disassembly of the machine in the tunnel.

The TBM features energy-saving technology, an invert cast-in-place system and an intelligent maintenance system. The explosion-proof design meets ATEX and CE standards.

Lot 4A consists of Montestretto, Salso and Trinacria tunnels, with a maximum rock strength of 13MPa and a depth of 150m. The geology is mainly mucky clay, argillaceous clay, diatomite, diatomaceous marl, chalk and chalky clay.

In April last year, the Lot 4A contract, for the Caltanissetta Xirbi to Nuova Enna section of the Sicilian railway, was awarded to Webuild (leader), Webuild subsidiary SELI Overseas, Ghella and Ghella subsididary TunnelPro.

The new Palermo-Catania-Messina axis is a strategic project for Sicily and Italy, and part of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean Corridor of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T). It will reduce travel times between Palermo and Catania by 60 minutes to two hours.