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Project update: Forrestfield Airport Link

Project update: Forrestfield Airport Link

9 January 2017 , 0

Western Australia’s Forrestfield Airport Link is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Trenchless Australasia takes a look at progress on the project so far.

Perth’s Forrestfield Airport Link involves the construction of a new train line to connect the eastern suburbs of Perth with existing networks in the CBD.

Twin bore tunnels will be excavated beneath the Swan River and Tonkin Hwy to accommodate the 8.5 km rail line, and three new stations will be created at Belmont, Airport Central and Forrestfield.

In September WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff signed a contract with the Salini Impregilo NRW Joint Venture (JV) to provide the service on the AU$2 billion Forrestfield Airport Link Project.

Under the contract WSP will verify all aspects of the project design including geotechnical, tunnelling and civil structures, stations, buildings and the railway.

WSP Client Director for Transport WA Phil Nicholls said “We have pulled together experts from across Australia and around the world to review the design.

“Our team includes acoustics specialists from Sweden and permanent way engineers from New Zealand.

“Project Director, Stuart Oakey, also joins the team this month as Lead Verifier bringing with him 20 years of international engineering experience.

“For the last four years, he has been Design Director for the award-winning Waterview Connection project in New Zealand.”

Following this contract award, the Western Australian Planning Commission approved the Development Application for early works on the Forrestfield Airport Link.

The early works include establishing a slurry treatment plant and other plants required to operate the tunnel boring machines, and setting up spoil handling facilities, site offices, and warehouse and storage areas for the tunnel lining segments.

A number of activities have already been completed at early works sites since they were handed to the Salini Impregilo NRW JV in September, including the demolition of buildings, installation of fencing and clearing.

The number of workers on the project has also increased, in preparation for the construction of the dive structure, which is scheduled to commence before the end of 2016.

Trials of jet grouting have already been completed at the Forrestfield site and have begun at the Bayswater site.

Jet grouting improves ground conditions and stabilises soils in preparation for tunnelling works.

The process works by injecting a slurry into soil at a high pressure, while a drill stem rotates and moves toward the surface, creating a homogenous mass of high strength material.

This method will be used to create overlapping columns at eight locations to allow for the excavation of cross passages between the two tunnels and prevent water from entering the area.

Jet grouting will also be used to stabilise soils and support tunnelling for two emergency egress shafts. The JV was awarded the contract to design, build and maintain the link in May.

For more information visit the Forrestfield Airport Link website.

This article was featured in the December edition of Trenchless Australasia. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet, or mobile device, click here.

If you have a project you would like covered in Trenchless Australasia contact Assistant Editor Nick Lovering at


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