26 September 2023

Finished tunnel a boring story

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The Department of Transport has announced that tunnelling on METRONET’s Forrestfield-Airport Link is complete.

“Tunnel-boring machine (TBM) Sandy broke through at the Bayswater dive structure on 20 April,” the Department said.

“The 130 metre-long, world-class machine spent more than 900 days tunnelling through varied and sometimes challenging conditions — including under Perth Airport and the Swan River.”

Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti said Sandy’s arrival at Bayswater completed a total of 16 kilometres of tunnelling for the visionary project.

“It involved twin-bored tunnels, each of eight kilometres and was achieved just nine weeks after TBM ‘Grace’ arrived on 18 February,” Ms Saffioti said.

“The tunnels will link three new stations at Forrestfield, Airport Central and Redcliffe to the existing rail network,” she said.

She said the TBMs installed 9,000 tunnel rings comprising 54,000 locally fabricated concrete segments to form the tunnel walls, which were designed and built to have 120-year durability.

“With tunnelling now complete, TBM Sandy will be dismantled and craned out of the dive structure,” the Minister said.

“Installation of the first stage of track slab is 50 per cent complete and track-laying is scheduled to begin in July. Construction and fit-out of the station buildings continues.

“The $1.86 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link project currently provides more than 700 Western Australian jobs and, along with the other METRONET projects, will play a key role in WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery,” Ms Saffioti said.

Premier, Mark McGowan said that while Western Australia had been grappling with COVID-19, TBM Sandy and the project team had been busy continuing to work.

“Completing the Forrestfield-Airport Link is a key element of our METRONET plan to connect Perth’s suburbs and ease congestion,” Mr McGowan said.

“In times like these it’s important we continue to progress projects that will provide work for local businesses and keep workers in their jobs, ultimately supporting the State’s wider economy.”

He said trains were set to run on the new rail line in the second half of 2021.

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