Microtunnelling, Tunnelling

Tunnel boring at Woolloongabba

The project, which is Queensland Urban Utilities’ (QUU) largest capital works project to date in Brisbane, involves the installation of 5.2 km of trunk sewer main that will increase the capacity of Woolloongabba’s sewerage system to cater for development and population growth in the area.

The upgrade project will ensure the long-term sustainability of sewerage services for around 50,000 properties in the Woolloongabba catchment.

A spokesperson on behalf of QUU said the first of the tunnel boring machines (TBMs) was supplied be Herrenknecht.

Construction is currently underway along Stanley Street in Woolloongabba, with work sites established near Wellington Road, Norman Street and Hanlon Park, Greenslopes.

The project will be carried out by approximately 100 personnel and will involve the construction of six new sewer lines and 37 access shafts. QUU said that current sewer pipes in Woolloongabba are approximately 80 years old.

QUU Chief Executive Officer Louise Dudley said “This trenchless method was chosen as it limits the impact on the community, making it ideal for use in heavily urbanised areas, such as Woolloongabba.

“As part of the Woolloongabba upgrade project, TBMs will install pipes as large as 1.4 m in diameter up to 17 m underground.

“On the surface, it might seem like nothing is happening but under the ground the boring machines will be making their way through Woolloongabba,” Ms Dudley said.

Local school children are getting involved by customising the TBM.

“Around 90 children in grades one, two and three at East Brisbane State School took part in a competition to name and choose the colours of the first tunnel boring machine to be used in the project,” Ms Dudley said.

“We had our contractor, John Holland, paint newly named “÷Cora the tunnel borer’ in the colours that reflected the winning entry. This was a novel way of involving children in the project and introducing them to the concept of how pipes are installed underground.”

The first part of the project will take place in stages along Stanley Street and is expected to take up to 14 months.

The upgrade is part of QUU’s $A3.2 billion, ten year capital works program.

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