From the magazine, Microtunnelling, Tunnelling

Tunnelling industry news

The 2.4 km tunnel is expected to make road travel in Auckland faster, easier and less expensive by eliminating a major chokepoint on one of the busiest stretches of the motorway network.

The project, to be completed using a “÷cut and cover’ method, includes the construction of a 440 mm diameter tunnel beneath Victoria Park in central Auckland to carry three lanes of northbound traffic. The existing Victoria Park viaduct will be retained as four southbound lanes.

The scope of the project also involves improvement of pedestrian access over the motorway to the harbour, protection of heritage sites and reinstatement of Victoria Park.

Though work has already begun at St Mary’s Bay between Victoria Park and the Auckland Harbour Bridge, full construction of the tunnel will commence in 2010. The project is being built by the Victoria Park Alliance, comprising of the NZTA, Fletcher Construction, Beca Infrastructure, Higgins, and Parsons Brinckerhoff.

At an estimated cost of $NZ400 million, the project will provide 450 jobs. The tunnel is expected to be completed by 2011 before Auckland hosts the World Cup.

Tunnel under Toolangi completed

The Sugarloaf Pipeline Project involves the construction of a 70 km pipeline linking the Goulburn River near Yea to the Sugarloaf Reservoir in Melbourne’s northeast, including an 830 m tunnel completed with a tunnel boring machine.

The 1.75 m diameter pipeline is designed to allow the transfer of 75 billion litres of water to Melbourne by 2010 as part of the Food Bowl Modernisation Project.

John Holland Group has been awarded the contract to construct the pipeline. The contract is an alliance between Melbourne Water, John Holland and designers Sinclair Knight Mertz and GHD.

An $A8 million remote controlled tunnel boring machine (TBM) completed the 830 m tunnel under the Toolangi State Forest to make way for the water pipeline.

Spokesperson for the Alliance Denise Hurley said stringent environmental approval processes and many months of preparation went into preparing the site for Ollie (the TBM).

“The Alliance’s tunnel team had to dig a launch shaft and assemble a bridge crane to lower the machine into the shaft. The four key components of Ollie, shipped from Germany, then had to be assembled, tested and lowered into place,” she said.

The TBM, nicknamed “÷Ollie’ after the world’s biggest earthworm the Giant Gippsland Earthworm (Oligochaetra), was manufactured especially for the rock encountered in the area.

A Herrenknecht AVN 1800 TD (with an extension kit to suit 2,000 ID / 2,400 OD pipes) was used to excavate the tunnel,

700 m of which was through rock with strengths ranging from 80-250 MPa. The final 130 m was excavated through soft colluvial material.

Alliance Project Manager Rob Cranston said the successful completion of the tunnel marked a major milestone in the pipeline project. Mr Cranston congratulated Project Manager Sam Jones and his team on successfully completing the tunnel earlier than expected.

Tunnelling began on 1 April 2009 and took ten weeks. A crew of ten worked 24 hours a day, six days a week to complete the drive. Workers have dismantled the tunnel boring equipment.

Sydney Metro stage one shortlist

The Sydney Metro is set to be the biggest infrastructure project in Sydney’s CBD since the construction of the Harbour Bridge.

Design work on the first stage of the Sydney Metro network is underway and construction will begin in 2010 to enable the metro to be opened to the public in 2015.

Three consortia made up of national and international companies have been shortlisted for Sydney Metro’s major construction and tunnelling contract.

The three consortia will now compete for the contract to develop the Permanent Route Infrastructure (PRI) for the Sydney Metro, stage one, Central to Rozelle.

They are (in no particular order):

Line 1 – McConnell Dowell Corporation / Abigroup / Obayashi Corporation

Metro Primo – Leighton Contractors / S.E.L.I. Spa

Thiess / John Holland JV – Thiess / John Holland JV

The PRI contract will involve the major tunnelling work for the seven kilometre route between Central and Rozelle.

The works to be carried out by the successful company will also include:

  • Constructing the structural lining in the tunnel, drainage, cross passages and other work; and
  • Excavating the underground stations and passenger entrances.

The contract will be awarded to the successful consortium in the second quarter of 2010.

Pipelines bound for Botany Bay

The construction of twin seven km pipelines crossing Botany Bay, located in New South Wales, has been completed as part of the water delivery infrastructure component of the Sydney Desalination Project.

The dual pipeline is expected to be connected to a single 1.8 m diameter pipe that has been laid offshore from Silver Beach, Kurnell. Three tunnel boring machines bored an 800 m drive to minimise the disturbance to residents and also to protect unique tracts of seagrass along the Botany Bay floor.

The $A650 million, 18 km pipeline and its associated infrastructure and systems will carry the desalinated water from Kurnell, across Botany Bay, to the city’s main water supply, the City Water Tunnel at Erskineville. The pipelines will initially transport 250 million litres of drinking water a day from the desalination plant and can carry 500 million litres of water a day if required in the future.

Blue Water – a joint venture between Veolia and John Holland – is building the desalination plant at Sir Joseph Banks Drive, Kurnell, and building the sea tunnels that connect to the intake and outlet structures 300 m offshore in the Tasman Sea.

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