From the magazine

Tunnel Boring Australia News: from The Pilbara via Sydney back to QLD

NRW-NYFL Joint venture, Cape Lambert Port B project, Rio Tinto Iron Ore Projects and Development

In January this year, in collaboration with Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) and the NRW-NYFL joint venture, Tunnel Boring Australia (TBA) completed the installation of two 116 m, 2,250 mm diameter HOBAS GRP Jacking Pipe stormwater tunnels on the Rio Tinto Cape Lambert Port B project near Karratha in the Pilbara. Cape Lambert Port B is a new greenfield iron ore port facility located on the west side of the Cape Lambert site, alongside the existing Cape Lambert Port (Port A). The project is one of the largest resource projects ever undertaken in Australia, involving the development of a new iron ore port facility.

The stormwater pipe jacked tunnels were installed utilising open face jacking methodologies in the area of Sam’s Creek, to mitigate flood risk to Rio Tinto’s railway operations. The uninterrupted continued operation of the five railway lines under which the culverts were installed was crucial to all stakeholders. SKM, the engineering procurement and construction management contractor, was involved in finalising the design for the pipe jacking operation, from the launch pit works to the choice of the HOBAS Jacking Pipe, which was the pipe material best suited to the difficult ground conditions.

NRW, in a joint venture with the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi Foundation Limited (NYFL), is the head earthworks contractor responsible for constructing the stockyard and car dumper bulk earthworks. In the Sam’s Creek project, the NRW-NYFL JV’s site management team was strongly focused on the safe and uninterrupted completion of the construction of the launch pit and pipe jacking operation.

The project was one of the most complex ever undertaken by TBA, however the completion was a success due to the continued support from all parties involved.

John Holland, Glenfield to Leppington to Railway project, NSW Government

In mid 2012, John Holland awarded TBA the contract to install a total of 720 m of 406 mm MS casing, utilising laser guided and vacuum extraction microtunnelling as part of the Glenfield to Leppington Railway project in Sydney. The scope of work consisted of installing a canopy of nine separate bores, each 80 m long, in Sydney’s Hawkesbury sandstone. The canopy was part of the tunnel works under the Hume Highway and, due to the importance of this highway, very strict deviation tolerances were set by the Roads and Maritime Services NSW government authority. John Holland project manager for the works in question Steven Kotevich said that TBA was capable of fulfilling the conditions set by the project and that the already existing relationship between the two companies has been further strengthened.

Deep Steel Segmental Shafts

TBA first installed a 12 m deep, 6 m diameter steel segmental shaft as part of the Thiess John Holland Airport Link project in Brisbane in 2009. Since then, the methodology has continued to be implemented on several high profile projects such as the Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) Woolloongabba Sewer Augmentation Project undertaken for BMD, the QUU Oxley Sewer Manholes Upgrade undertaken for Veolia Water Networks and the Queensland Gold Coast Light Railway Project undertaken for McConnell Dowell contractors.TBA uses the deep steel segmental shafts launch and retrieval pits on projects where the utilities are at depths that warrant the commercial advantage over traditional shoring methodologies, such as boxes or sheet piling. Steel segmental shaft shoring system is also very practical during the building of deep manholes. The methodology is fully certified in terms of structural engineering design.

Replacement of damaged steel corrugated culverts

TBA’s partnership with the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) and its subcontractor arm Roadtek continues all over the state in the massive project of replacement of damaged steel corrugated under road stormwater culverts with reinforced concrete jacking pipe. In general, corrosion due to standing water causes loss of steel sections in the culvert walls and due to structural failure and danger of sudden collapse, the repair of the culvert is considered a very high priority.

The repair methodology by cutting the existing steel pipes and immediate replacement by reinforced concrete jacking pipes proposed by TBA was first accepted by the DTMR in 2007, when the replacement of a culvert consisting of three large-diameter pipes under the Gateway arterial in Brackenridge was completed. Since then, TBA has completed a large number of replacement projects under the Warrego and Bruce Highways.

TBA is one of the most experienced contractors in the Australian trenchless industry, with over 30 years of experience. The company mainly manufactures its own equipment and specialises in large-diameter pipe jacking, as well as in small-diameter laser guided microtunnelling, auger boring and the installation of deep steel segmental shaft shoring systems.

For any further information please contact either Carmine Rea or Stephen Mellish on 07 3801 8813 or visit

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