QLD, VIC and WA seek trenchless contractors

The Cairns Regional Council has announced a tender for the construction of new rising main in Cairn’s, Queensland.

The contract is for the supply, delivery, installation and testing of approximately 898 m of DN500 PE100 SDR11 dedicated rising main which runs from SPS RL1 to approximately 120 m east of Freshwater Creek where it will be connected into a newly installed rising main.

Construction of the new pipeline will require a combination of trenched and trenchless construction methodologies.

The full tender listing is available on the Cairns Regional Council tender page.

All technical enquiries relating to this tender should be in writing to Contracts Administrator Paul Fisher at p.fisher@cairns.qld.gov.au or by calling +61 7 4044 8230.

Tender applications are due 10 December 2014.

The Longreach Regional Council in Queensland has released details for a tender concerning the Longreach Watermain upgrades for 2014/2015 to be completed using Trenchless Technology.

The closing date for applicants is 2 pm on 18 November 2014.

More information regarding these works can be found on the original tender posting available online from the Longreach Regional Council website.

All queries are to be directed to Mr Allan Luyt of George Bourne & Associates on +61 7 4651 2177.

A contract for the construction of a rising main in Bairnsdale, Victoria, has been issued by East Gippsland Water.

The major components of these works will include the supply and construction of approximately 3 km of a new PE sewerage rising main, valves and associated fittings, by application of both open-cut and trenchless construction methods, including connections to the existing pipe network.

The closing date for this tender is 1 December 2014 before 4 pm.

More information is available from the East Gippsland Water tender portal listing .

The tender for the construction of a dual set of watermains along Quinn Drive to the Bruce Highway in Edmonton, Queensland, is open.

The scope of works is for the construction of two new trunk water mains, a DN375 DICL trunk supply main servicing the Edmonton West Reservoir and a DN225 DICL reticulation main and any other associated works.

Trenchless construction of the new trunk watermains will generally consist of approximately 210 m of up to 450 mm diameter HDPE.

The closing date for this tender is 18 November 2014.

More details can be found on Cairn’s Regional Council Tender site.

All technical enquiries relating to this tender should be in writing to Contracts Administrator Paul Fisher at p.fisher@cairns.qld.gov.au or by calling +61 7 4044 8230.

The Forrestfield Airport Link project in Perth, Western Australia, is seeking a geotechnical and tunnelling manager.

The Geotechnical and Tunnelling Manager is required to have significant geotechnical engineering experience and significant design and construction experience with cut and cover and bored tunnels in the ground and groundwater conditions of the Perth Coastal Plain.

The closing date for interested parties is 18 December 2014.

More details can be found on the Western Australia Government Tenders page .

Infrastructure industry briefed on $A2 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link

The Forrestfield-Airport Link project reached another milestone with an official industry briefing provided to potential proponents this week in Perth, Western Australia.

West Australian Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the briefing to more than 200 attendees was the first step in a process to select a private sector proponent to design and construct the $A2 billion rail line to Perth’s eastern suburbs via the Perth Airport.

The Forrestfield-Airport Link will create a 20 minute journey for commuters from Perth’s eastern suburbs to the city and will feature three new stations, Airport West (Belmont), Consolidated Airport and Forrestfield.

It will branch off the existing Midland line near Bayswater and run underground for 8 km in twin-bored tunnels beneath the Swan River and Perth Airport.

Mr Nalder said the briefing covered the project overview, geotechnical and tunnelling aspects as well as the contract and procurement timeframe.

“This is an exceptional project to open up Perth’s eastern suburbs to a new major public transport corridor.

“The briefing will equip potential proponents with information to decide if they will bid to design and construct this landmark public transport project. Industry stakeholders will also be asked their views on the project and procurement process,” Mr Nalder said.

The project is already looking to the next stage, with expressions of interest (EOI) set to commence in early 2015.

“The next major milestone is the start of the EOI period early next year, with the contract to be awarded in mid-2016 and the first trains expected to operate in 2020,” Mr Nalder said.

Pezzimenti tunnels through 2014

With over 140 individual bores completed, totalling over 7,500 m in sizes ranging from 325-1,850 mm in diameter across varied ground conditions including clay, mudstone, siltstone, Coode Island silt, stiff sands and basalt, Pezzimenti Trenchless has topped off the financial year on a high.

The company has been involved with significant projects that have spanned all across Victoria including the Queensbridge Street Branch sewer project in Southbank, Melbourne, completed in April this year.

The Queenstreet Bridge project included the installation of 300 m of 427 mm diameter and 376 mm diameter Hobas jacking pipes while working through particularly soft Coode Island silt ground matter. The project was conducted directly underneath Melbourne’s prestigious Crown Promenade building.

Jumping over to South Australia, Pezzimenti Trenchless was on-hand to complete two significant 32 m bore crossings underneath Main North Road in Para Hills West, as part of works for the new Liebherr facility. The project involved boring 750 mm of Rocla R.C jacking pipes through significant clay ground matter.

Joe, Anthony and Stephen Pezzimenti alongside the invaluable 50 years of experience of Gilbert Pezzimenti, are committed to improving systems and services to their vast client base as they kick off the new financial year.

The management team alongside the committed Pezzimenti Trenchless staff members look forward to reaching new goals and targets for the company.

With six crews and 26 microtunnelling units available in various sizes, the team at Pezzimenti Trenchless are prepared to tackle nearly any project, aiming to deliver the best results possible.

Barbco’s machines dig deep down under

Over the past 25 years utility contractors in the US have come to recognise one name as synonymous with boring equipment. Barbco Inc. is equipped for Australasian projects far and wide.

Barbco is a manufacturer of quality, handcrafted auger boring machines (ABM), horizontal directional drills (HDD) and pilot tube machines. They call Ohio’s East Canton home, and have since the business started back in 1989.

Barbco Founder and President Jim Barbera has been involved in the trenchless industry for over 35 years. The business became a family affair when both Tony and David Barbera hopped on board, carrying on the family tradition of manufacturing high quality trenchless products.

Barbco’s machines are utilised extensively throughout North America, and in many other parts of the world on a daily basis.

With a proven track record of durability in the field for performance, reliability, quality construction and easy maintenance and operation, Barbco have a vast knowledge of field experience in private, military and government projects.

Barbco are dedicated and committed to the production of high quality equipment, customer service and innovation. Barbco epitomises a strict management philosophy, which seeks customer loyalty and maximisation of their customer’s productivity and profitability.

Barbco also builds custom equipment to meet the specific needs of their customer. Providing this service has allowed them to stay on top of the ever changing demands placed on the equipment they manufacture.

Actively working the bugs out of a process, with the client, and tailoring the equipment to meet a specific need are at the centre of Barbco’s business model.

PVC pipe wins NZ plastics award

On October 3 2014 Iplex Pipelines NZ Ltd took home two New Zealand Plastics Industry Design Awards for its development and use of Fusible PVC pipe, for trenchless pipeline applications within New Zealand, including the Hingaia Peninsula Trunk Sewer Project in Papakura, part of Auckland City.

These prestigious, biennial awards acknowledge and promote excellence in the creation, design, production, manufacture, and marketing of plastic products or components.

The highlight of the Hingaia Peninsula Trunk Sewer Project was its record-breaking pull of 1,050 m of Novafuse DN450 PN12 Fusible PVC Pipe, the longest pull back of a single, continuous thermoplastic pipe-string installed via horizontal directional drilling (HDD) in New Zealand history.

Veolia water was the project owner. Fulton Hogan of Mount Wellington, the main contractor, hired CDS NZ Ltd of Silverdale for the drilling. Rod Cahill of AMC Drilling Fluids & Products in Perth, Australia provided technical assistance to CDS.

Veolia Water Project Manager Nanne De Haan said “I was amazed how strong the pipe was when one shackle was used to pull a 245 m pipe-string on the third drill shot.”

Tenders announced across VIC, QLD and NSW

A tender has been announced in Wellington, New Zealand, for the construction and renewal of stormwater infrastructure.

The works will take place in Messines Road and Braithwaite Street, Wellington, and will require trenchless methods to install several 375 mm diameter pipes to depths of up to 6 m.

The tender closes 26 September 2014.

More information can be located on the original listing on the LGtenders New Zealand portal.

A contract for the provision of supply and delivery of concrete pipe jacking has been released in Queensland.

The work requires supplying pipe and using the method of pipe jacking to replace concrete structures around the existing culverts.

The closing date for this tender is 26 September 2014.

Details regarding this listing can be found on the Queensland Government’s QTenders website.

A contract for a watermain reconstruction in various locations across the New South Wales region has been released.

The Lismore City Council is inviting submissions from suitably qualified contractors to form a panel for the renewal of various size and types of watermains in Lismore.

The contract includes the supply of all necessary fittings, materials, plant, equipment and labour to complete.

The term of the contract is for a period of one year, with the option to extend subject to a contractors satisfactory performance.

The closing date for this tender is 2 pm on 10 October 2014.

Additional details regarding this tender can be found on the Lismore City Council’s electronic procurement portal.

The Hunter Water Corporation in Sydney has released a tender contract for the construction and replacement of a rising main in Belmont.

The works under the contract includes the construction of the 2.7 km by 750 mm diameter, mild steel cement lined rising main. The construction will replace the existing Belmont 6 rising main.

Construction will require a combination of open trenching and trenchless construction techniques.

Sections requiring trenchless construction techniques include the crossing of the Pacific Highway and other areas where conventional trenching is deemed impractical or unsafe. Works under the contract include the development of the principal’s design for all sections requiring trenchless construction techniques.

This tender closes on 15 October 2014.

More details for this tender can be found on the Hunter Water E-tendering portal.

Melbourne’s $720 million investment into vital infrastructure

Melbourne’s City West Water has invested $120 million into vital infrastructure in the inner and western metropolitan area during the 2013/14 financial year, bringing the total investment over the past five years to a whopping $720 million.

The investment, detailed in the City West Water Annual Report tabled in Parliament last month, is among many initiatives that have provided the local community with a range of upgrades to the water supply and sewerage networks, alternative water projects and programs to enhance the liveability of the western metropolitan area.

City West Water Managing Director Anne Barker said the investments in infrastructure was a highlight in a successful year for the business.

“In addition to the investment we’ve made in the community, our customers have welcomed the Victorian Government’s Fairer Water Bills initiative that provided households with a $100 reduction in their water bills from July this year,” Ms Barker said.

Ms Barker added that City West Water outperformed many operational targets during the financial year, particularly in relation to the restoration of water supplies, and no customers experiencing more than five unplanned interruptions to their annual water supply despite the dry weather over summer, which can cause more leaks and bursts through ground movement as it dries out.

“The hot, dry summer and heavy rainfall events during the year put increased pressure on the network, but we were able to outperform many of our performance targets which is a great result,” Ms Barker said.

Contract signed for Sydney North West Rail Link

A new train has been unveiled and the $A3.7 billion operations contract for Sydney’s North West Rail Link has been signed in a milestone month for the project.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird and Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian announced Sydney’s brand new rapid transit trains will run every four minutes during the peak times on the North West Rail Link as part of the operations contract recently signed off by the NSW Government.

Mr Baird said the North West Rail Link will take customer service and safety to a whole new level, bringing a world-class rapid transit rail service to Australia for the first time.

“Services on the North West Rail Link will start in the first half of 2019 with 15 trains an hour during the peak and 98 per cent on-time running – a much higher level of customer service than we first expected and an outstanding outcome for customers,” Mr Baird said.

The North West Rail Link will be Australia’s first fully-automated rapid transit rail network.

The Public Private Partnership contract is the largest ever awarded in NSW and will see the Northwest Rapid Transit consortium deliver the North West Rail Link by the first half of 2019 and operate it for 15 years.

Ms Berejiklian said the contract means Sydney’s new trains will be built by international train supplier Alstom.

“This project will transform and modernise public transport in Sydney forever. With tunnelling now underway and a contract signed to operate the rail network – the NSW Government is well and truly delivering,” she said.

Tunneling works kicked off for the project on 8 September 2014, four months ahead of schedule, during a live streamed event.

The early bird gets the tunnel

The tunnel boring machine (TBM) Elizabeth launched underground on 8 September 2014 during a live, online broadcast from the Bella Vista construction site, kicking off the first stage of construction for Transport New South Wales’ $A8.3 billion Sydney project.

Eight new stations will be delivered as part of the project between Epping and Rouse Hill, via Cherrybrook, Castle Hill and Kellyville in Sydney’s North West.

TBM Elizabeth is the first of four machines to be delivered from France to New South Wales in order to complete the tunnelling. Another TBM, yet to be named, will join Elizabeth soon, both making the 9 km journey from Bella Vista to Cherrybrook at a rate of a predicted
120 m a week.

Two more TBM’s will later tunnel the 6 km course from Cherrybrook to Epping, all four TBM’s eventually digging Australia’s longest railway tunnels to date, aiming to be completed by 2017.

All linked up

On Sunday 20 July 2014 more than 80,000 passengers were welcomed aboard the G:link for the first day of operation for Gold Coast’s first light rail system.

The service was officially opened at a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, GoldLinQ Chairman John Witheriff and other dignitaries.

With the three year design, construction, testing and commissioning phase complete, commencement of the operation marks a significant achievement for contractors McConnell Dowell and their partner Bombardier.

The works consisted of trenchless techniques which included horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and microtunnelling, chosen because they represented the best engineering solutions in order to upgrade the services.

The team delivered Queensland’s first modern light rail system and the one of the largest upgrades to underground services undertaken within the State.

Design and Construction Joint Venture Project Director Simon Bradbury congratulated the project team on the successful and punctual delivery of the Gold Coast Light Rail system.

“The calibre of this team is reflected by the number of challenges faced on a daily basis and how every challenge has been met head on and solved through creative thinking, cooperation and determination,” Mr Bradbury said.

The G:link project achievements included 27 km of laid track, 30,000 km of underground services relocated or upgraded and the percentage of local goods, services and employees on-site was 95 per cent.

Major NZ pipeline project announced

The Tauranga City Council (TCC) is currently preparing to procure the last pipeline section of the 14.5 km $NZ100 million Southern Pipeline project.

Rather than going releasing the tender initially the TCC has decided to engage the market with a formal request for information.

TCC Project Manager Richard Myers said that this approach was selected in order to provide the market with the opportunity to raise their issues.

“We want to give the industry and opportunity to discuss how the work is packaged, consented, procured and to identify any additional information they may be required to properly bid the work,” he said.

It is currently intended that the pipeline with be procured on a design and build basis against a performance specification in order to provide the market with the maximum opportunity to tailor their submission.

Since obtaining the suitable consent for this route, TCC recognised that previously rejected harbour crossing alternatives had the potential to be more viable with improved technology applications.

This includes the application of horizontal directional drilling (HDD) or other trenchless techniques in order to complete the direct route across the harbour from Memorial Park to Matapihi, stretching to
1.5 km.

Following the request for information process the formal procurement will proceed. At this stage, the work is due to be completed by mid-2016 with a budget range of $NZ20-30 million.

For updates of this tender please visit the project website.

Silverdale set to (micro)tunnel forward

Construction company McConnell Dowell’s new microtunnel boring machine (MTBM) will arrive in New Zealand in the next few weeks to settle in Silverdale, where it will make its way underground from the existing Watercare Pump Station off Millwater Parkway Orewa to a new series of subdivisions north of Grand Drive.

Major residential developments are already underway in the area bringing tens of thousands of residents to Rodney and the Hibiscus Coast. The largest development, Millwater, will house more than 10,000 residents with around 3,500 homes planned.

McConnell Dowell is laying 3.15 km of wastewater pipeline for Watercare using microtunnelling Trenchless Technology.

The wastewater will flow down the pipeline and through gravity, offering significant advantages during construction and operation in terms of safety and environmental and community impact minimisations.

Construction Manager for McConell Dowell Michael Buckland said despite the fact that there is a shortage of homes in Auckland, roads, water, sewerage and gas networks all have to be in place at the right time to bring people to a new area.

“Having all your ducks in a row with all services in place means residents can settle into an area and enjoy the lifestyle on offer right away,” Mr Buckland said.

Following tunnelling tradition around the world, a tunnel boring machine (TBM) cannot start work until it’s given a name. Just like Alice in Waterview, this new machine will be given a woman’s name as a sign of good luck for the project.

Local primary school children from Kingsway, Silverdale and Orewa Primary Schools are being given the opportunity to enter a competition to name the MTBM, researching famous New Zealand women in history for inspiration.

Tenders across NSW and NZ announced

Applicants are invited by the Wellington City Council, New Zealand, to tender for the renewal of approximately 103 m of sewer pipe, 83 m of stormwater pipe and related infrastructure.

Tender applications will close at 2 pm, 3 July 2014.

For more information view the tender portal.

The Bega Valley Shire Council, New South Wales, is seeking tenders for the supply and installation of various CCTV and manhole camera inspection plus monitoring equipment that will be applied within the Council’s sewer and stormwater pipelines and associated assets.

More information is available on the tender listing.

Any further enquiries can also be directed to Bruce Powell on +61 2 6499 2152 or by email {encode=”bpowell@begavalley.nsw.gov.au” title=”bpowell@begavalley.nsw.gov.au”}

Tender applications close at 12 pm, 16 July 2014.

A tender has been announced for the rehabilitation of sewers in Lake Albert and Mount Austin by the Wagga Wagga City Council, New South Wales.

The works will include but not be limited to bursting existing pipes and installing new pipes using Trenchless Technology and pipe bursting methods.

Tender applications close 2 pm, 23 July 2014.

For more information view the tender page.

Further enquiries can be directed to Shane McDermott on +61 2 714 643.

Trenchless project wins major sustainability award

Saipem won the award for the construction of The Narrows Marine Crossing, Queensland, one of the world’s longest trenchless marine pipelines.

The project, constructed by Theiss for Saipem and Santos GLNG, was awarded the honour for the detailed design, procurement and construction that was involved.

The 4.3 km long pipeline will transport the extracted and compressed coal seam gas from gas fields between the town of Roma, Queensland and the Arcadia Valley to the Curtis Island LNG processing facility off Gladstone.

The last section of the GLNG pipeline runs across the vast tidal plain known as The Narrows.

In order to minimise the environmental impact of pipeline construction activities, Saipem built a 4 m wide undersea tunnel enabling the pipeline to cross The Narrows without disturbing the local marine habitat, wildlife and surrounding coastal environment.

The most innovative aspect of this project, which had never been seen before within the oil and gas industry, was the utilisation of a pipe thruster machine to launch the pipeline into a tunnel.

The excavation of the tunnel was performed using a tunnel boring machine with an internal diameter of 3.4 m, lining the tunnel with pre-cast concrete segments.

Saipem received the award for the Narrows Marine Crossing project alongside Santos GLNG and Thiess.

Trenchless Technology provides Harcourt with a backbone

The $40million Harcourt Rural Modernisation Project has now completed 9.3 km of the 19 km backbone pipeline construction works, which is being laid down by application of the trenchless thrust boring technique.

Coliban Water’s Managing Director Jeff Rigby said the backbone pipeline will connect to the future Faraday pump station.

“The 19 km backbone pipeline starts in McIvor Road and will continue into Reservoir Road and Danns Road, where it will link up with the Old Calder Highway and then connect to the yet to be built Faraday pump station,” he said.

“A combination of open trenching and trenchless boring techniques is currently being used during the construction works and our contractor, Redline Group, has extensive experience in pipeline construction in regional areas across Australia,” Mr Rigby said.

The Nationals Member for Rodney Paul Weller, who spoke on behalf of Minister for Water Peter Walsh, said the project was a big step forward for regional Victoria.

“The Harcourt Rural Modernisation Project will provide rural customers in the Harcourt area with a year round pressurised supply through a piped system – replacing the aged and now inefficient concrete and earthen gravity rural channel system that has served this region for over 100 years,” he said.

“Once complete, the project will provide greater water security, for rural residents and the local agriculture industry within the area.

Works were expected to be completed by the end of September 2014, replacing 65 km of open channels with the new underground piped water system, saving an estimated 3,000 megalitres of water per year for the local community.

Controversy brews for Melbourne Rail Link

Monash University Engineering expert Graham Curries said no planning had been done yet on whether the sewer would affect the tunnel set for the Melbourne Rail Link project, worth approximately $A11 billion.

The Melbourne Rail Link project will transform Melbourne’s rail network and allow an increase in capacity by 30 per cent, also delivering a new rail link to Melbourne Airport.

The project will construct the following:

  • Twin tunnels from Southern Cross to South Yarra as part of a new Frankston to Lilydale/Belgrave line
  • New underground stations at Fishermans Bend (Montague) and Domain
  • New underground platforms at Southern Cross and South Yarra stations
  • The Melbourne Airport Rail Link, connecting Melbourne Airport to Southern Cross Station and the Cranbourne-Pakenham corridor
  • Train-tram interchanges in the new underground stations.

Professor Curries said the Victorian Government should not be so sure that the sewer would not pose a problem to the project.

“The truth is we don’t know because no one has done any planning on it,” Professor Curries said.

“It is helpful for real capacity but the truth is they haven’t done any of the work that went on in the other alignment,” he said.

Victorian Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder fiercely denied the claims that the Melbourne sewer network had not been considered during project planning.

“The same company who rebuilt Melbourne’s underground sewer are the same company who are working on Melbourne Rail Link. What does that tell you? That the fact that we are not supposed to have known where the sewermain was? What a load of absolute rubbish,” He said.

“I would suggest that this will be dealt with by engineers, not by politicians and certainly not by university academics,” Mr Mulder said.

Gladstone harbour pipeline reaches another milestone

The 120 pipeline segments, each measuring 36 m in length, were welded together and pushed gradually through the 4.3 km tunnel that was drilled using a tunnel boring machine (TBM).

The 3.45 m under-sea tunnel runs 8 m below the sea bed, drilled with a 100 m long TBM weighing 277 tonnes. The operation took four weeks to complete.

Santos Vice-President downstream GLNG Rod Duke said the pipeline would soon be ready to deliver gas to Curtis Island.

Mr Duke also said the pipeline has been completed without disturbing the local environment, thanks to the TBM tunnel.

“When we set out to build a 420 km pipeline from Fairview field to Gladstone we promised to safeguard the environment,” he said.

“Our under-sea tunnel has allowed us to cross The Narrows without disturbing the local marine environment and with minimal impact to the surrounding coastal environments.

“In the coming weeks the marine crossing pipe will be connected to the rest of Santos GLNG’s 420 km pipeline.”

Subcontractor Theiss constructed the tunnel using the TBM application, while the gas transmission pipeline is being built by Santos GLNG’s contractor Saipem Australia.

Submarine cable to be replaced underneath Lake Conjola

UEA Trenchless Division was award that project in Lake Conjola, New South Wales, which will involve replacing an existing submarine cable running directly underneath Lake Conjola.

During the areas peak tourist season the increase in demand has been identified by the local electrical authority as a major risk to existing services. The underwater cable is set to be replaced using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) technology.

Prior to the HDD works commencing, UEA will be required to locate a treated effluent main that lies underneath the lake that could potentially impact the proposed alignment.

A 180 mm conduit, measuring approximately 880 m in length, will be installed through sand and sandstone matter. The works will represent one of the longest HDD boring projects undertaken by the local New South Wales authority.

Part of the works will involve a 350 mm steel casing being applied over the first 80 to 100 m in order to prevent frac-out whilst drilling through the soft formation into the harder sandstone.

LinQing Queensland’s Gold Coast

The Gold Coast light rail project is one of the biggest public transport projects in the country, and the biggest transport infrastructure project ever undertaken on the Gold Coast. As Queensland’s first ever light rail system, it represents a major step forward in transforming the city into a modern, accessible destination.

Stage One of the project is being delivered as a public-private partnership between the Queensland Government, City of Gold Coast, the Commonwealth of Australia and GoldLinQ, the consortium appointed to build and operate the light rail system. The consortium is made up of GoldLinQ Pty Ltd, McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust), Bombardier Transportation Australia and KDR Gold Coast.

GoldLinQ was awarded the contract to design, build and operate Stage One of the Gold Coast light rail system in June 2011. This stage of the project involves the 13 km light rail corridor connecting Griffith University to Broadbeach, passing through the key activity centres of Southport and Surfers Paradise. The system is expected to begin operations as ‘G:link’ in mid-2014.

Stage One construction

In building Stage One of the project, GoldLinQ is undertaking a complex upgrade of underground services, with major maintenance and replacement of services part of the plan.

GoldLinQ is upgrading infrastructure in some of the Gold Coast’s oldest and most populated suburbs. Innovative engineering solutions used to improve these services include horizontal directional drilling (HDD) and microtunnelling, which were chosen because they represented the best engineering solutions to upgrade the services.

Project Director Simon Bradbury said the team has bored more than 2 km to date, working around the fragile network of the Gold Coast’s underground services.

“The team is tackling each new engineering challenge head on. For example in Scarborough Street in Southport, HDD has been used to tunnel 200 m underneath the street to provide new telephone conduits.

“A microtunnelling machine is also installing more than 500 m of new water and sewer pipes at a depth of 12 m below ground level across the whole corridor.”

In total, GoldLinQ’s design and construction joint venture partner, McConnell Dowell will install more than 8 km of drainage, 40 km of Telstra conduits, over 60 km of Energex cables and 7 km of water and sewerage pipes, making it Australia’s most complex single upgrade of public utility services.

Alice prepares for her first NZ winter

Alice was stopped earlier this month so steel fibre brushes associated with the installation of the tunnel lining for the Auckland Waterview Connection project could be replaced.

During that stage, Alice was 40 m below the surface and had already travelled 870 m, about a third of her 2.4 km journey to construct the first of the twin motorway tunnels that will connect Auckland’s Northwestern and Southwestern motorways.

“It made sense for Alice to take a breather now, replace the worn brushes that have done their job, and have the machine ready for the winter. The maintenance is complete and she’s restarted her underground journey,” said the NZ Transport Agency’s acting Highway Manager Steve Mutton.

Mr Mutton says the machine will construct up to 24 m of tunnel per day as she works her way towards the northern tunnel portal at Waterview.

“She is expected to arrive in late September and be turned around over the following three months, ready to start her return journey to Owairaka in early 2015,” he said.

During the maintenance on Alice work has continued to install a large culvert on the floor of the tunnel.

The “÷tunnel within the tunnel’ will run below the completed motorway and will carry cables for ventilation, communication, fire detection and lighting systems required to operate the tunnels after they open to traffic in early 2017.

The Waterview Connection project is being delivered by the Well-Connected Alliance which includes the Transport Agency, Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin & Taylor and Japanese construction company Obayashi Corporation.

Trenchless delivers industrial water scheme

In August 2013 UEA’s trenchless division was awarded a design and construction works package for the Hunter Water Corporation as part of the Kooragang Industrial Water Scheme (KIWS).

The KIWS project provides 9 mL per day of high quality recycled water to industrial users in the Kooragang Island area to substitute the use of drinking water during manufacturing.

The scheme was achieved due to the construction of a new advanced water treatment plant and a 7.5 km water delivery pipeline, the majority of works being undertaken using Trenchless Technology.

UEA Trenchless completed works on 2.92 km of fully welded PE pipe from the new treatment plant in the Steel River Estate, Mayfield West, to midway along Cormorant Road, Kooragang Island.

The scope of works consisted of the following:

  • Three horizontal directional drill shots (470 m, 610 m and 460 m), including one beneath the Hunter River
  • One guided bore installation, including steel casing installation
  • A 56 m casing installation for the Hunter River crossing
  • Sliplining of approximately 600 m of existing 500 mm cast iron mains
  • Conventional open-cut works including fittings, final connections, flushing and testing.

The newly installed main was pressure-tested, swabbed and flushed. It passed water sample testing with no issues and was connected to the treatment plant ahead of schedule.

Overall crews, subcontractors, suppliers and Hunter Water worked collaboratively to achieve the KIWS project that will provide ongoing environmental benefits for the Hunter region.

QLD sewer network set for upgrade

The sewerage network upgrade will occur in Mollison Street, West End, and will involve the construction of a new 430 m, 500 mm diameter sewer from Boundary Street to Hockings Street using trenchless methods.

A tunnel boring machine will dig underneath the intersection of Boundary Street, along Mollison Street and under Montague Road in order to connect up to the existing sewerage network at Hockings Street.

Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU) Chief Operating Officer Robin Lewis said the project will improve capacity to cater for future development.

“We recognise population growth and the increase in high-density living in the area will put pressure on local infrastructure,” he said.

“The Mollison Street upgrade will ensure the West End sewerage network will continue to serve the local community and protect against sewage overflows in times of wet weather or high demand.

“Once connected, this main will link up to the Toowong Sewer via a connection under the Brisbane River.”

Works started in late April and are expected to take six months to complete, depending on ground and weather conditions.

Tunnelling Auckland’s Waterview Connection

Completing a motorway ring route around Auckland, the Waterview Connection, a New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) project, will complete the long-planned Western Ring Route (WRR), a 48 km north-south motorway alternative to State Highway 1.

The Waterview Connection will deliver five km of six-lane motorway through and beneath Auckland’s western suburbs, linking State Highways 16 and 20 to complete the city’s WRR by 2017. Half of this new motorway link will be tunnelled. By undergrounding so much of the motorway, the NZTA is able to deliver maximum regional and national benefits with minimum long-term footprint on the surrounding communities.

It is the largest and most complex road project ever undertaken in New Zealand, with a price tag of $NZ1.4 billion.

Construction alliance

The NZTA chose a competitive alliance procurement model as the most appropriate method to deliver a project of this complexity and significance. Under this model, the participants – including the client – work together following the principles of openness, transparency, equality and common objectives to promote innovative thinking and deliver outstanding results.

Following a competitive tender process, the NZTA appointed a combined local and international consortium known as the Well-Connected Alliance to manage the design, construction and initial maintenance and operation of the Waterview Connection. The alliance comprises Fletcher Construction, McConnell Dowell Constructors, Parsons Brinckerhoff NZ, Beca Infrastructure, Tonkin & Taylor, Obayashi Corporation and the NZTA. This alliance brings together the knowledge and strong, home-grown reputation of leading New Zealand engineering companies with the tunnelling expertise of its international partners.

The contract was awarded in September 2011 and construction began in January 2012. Completion is scheduled for early 2017, after which the alliance will operate and maintain the connection for ten years.

Project details

The Waterview Connection project involves the design, construction and commissioning of a six-lane, 4.8 km motorway joining State Highway 16 and State Highway 20. This nationally significant new infrastructure includes:

  • Twin 2.4 km three-lane tunnels, one for northbound traffic and one for southbound traffic
  • Building the motorway connections between the tunnels and the existing motorways.

Site considerations

The Waterview Connection route runs under valued community green space, residential areas and some major road and rail infrastructure. By tunnelling approximately half of the five km route, the NZTA is able to preserve green space, reduce construction impacts, and avoid severance of residential areas. Environmental and social considerations were therefore critical to the decision to tunnel.

Tunnelling aspect

The tunnels are being constructed by the Herrenknecht earth pressure balance (EPB) tunnel boring machine (TBM) No S-764, with a length of 87 m and a cutting diameter of 14.5 m. Named Alice, it is the tenth-largest diameter TBM ever produced worldwide and weighs in at 3,102 tonnes.

The machine was fabricated at Herrenknecht’s plant in China, factory tested, then disassembled and shipped to New Zealand. In Auckland it was reassembled in the southern approach trench to the tunnels.

Each tunnel comprises a single pass precast concrete segmental lining with an internal diameter of 13.1 m. The lining comprises 2 m wide rings, 450 mm thick – each with a conventional configuration of nine interconnected segments and a smaller key segment.

A major achievement for the project was being ready to bore on the exact day specified two years earlier in the tender phase for the project. This milestone required the completion of a large number of work streams, many of them major projects within themselves.

They included the:

  • Procurement, design, fabrication, delivery and reassembly of the TBM
  • Design, construction and commissioning of a pre-cast factory for manufacture of tunnel lining segments
  • Excavation and construction of the southern tunnel approach
  • Construction of the surface motorway between the southern approach
  • trench and Southwestern Motorway to give direct motorway access for heavy construction vehicles
  • Design and construction of infrastructure to support the tunnelling, including water treatment facilities and grouting plant
  • Development of the project’s 27 hectare cleanfill site where all excavated material is being disposed of.


The decision to construct the tunnels using a 14.5 m diameter EPB TBM was made following multi-criteria analysis which concluded that this method best addressed the project’s geotechnical risks and uncertainties while minimising cost and program risk. Criteria considered during this evaluation were safety, cost, program, risk/opportunity, construction sequence and environmental sustainability.

For the most part the tunnel route passes through sandstone of varying strength and degrees of weathering. The EPB TBM provides the best capability to handle the varying soil and rock conditions that will be encountered. It will also cope with groundwater inflows and limit the risk of lowering the groundwater table as required by the environmental conditions of the project’s consents.

The most significant challenge was excavation of hard basalt rock – the remains of an ancient lava flow that was up to 14 m thick – that lay directly beneath the surface on the southern approach to the tunnels. Its excavation required extensive blasting.

Tunnelling to date

After a probationary period of several weeks, during which the tunnelling team familiarised itself with the machine’s operation and systems, Alice is currently achieving her expected production of around 20 m (10 rings) of tunnel constructed per day. Her best day yet has been approximately 22 m.

The TBM is on target to break through at the northern end in late September or early October. Alice will then be turned around over approximately three months to begin her 2.4 km journey south, constructing the second tunnel as she goes.

Future outlook

Tunnelling is expected to be completed in October 2015 and the Waterview Connection will open in early 2017.

When it opens, the Waterview Connection will unlock Auckland’s potential to become a truly world class city, combatting regional congestion and creating a direct, time-saving link between the International Airport and CBD.

Tunnelling the connection

The Waterview Connection’s TBM has been specifically designed for the local geology by Herrenknecht. The TBM is the tenth-largest machine of its type in the world and the largest ever built for use in Australasia. The cutting head and shield are as high as a four-storey building.

The machine is the length of a rugby field. It comprises a 14.5 m diameter rotating cutting head attached to the front of a 12 m long shield, followed by three back-up cars, or gantries, that house all the equipment needed to run it, place the precast concrete rings that will line the tunnels and to remove the material extracted.

As it bores its way from Owairaka to Waterview and back, it will install 2,414 rings of reinforced concrete to form the tunnel lining. Each ring is 2 m wide and 50 cm thick and comprises ten pre-cast reinforced concrete segments. Nine of these segments each weigh approximately 10.5 tonnes. The tenth is a smaller “÷key’ ring that locks the ring together.

When theTBM has finished its job, it will have extracted around 800,000 cubic metres of spoil – enough earth to fill 320 Olympic sized pools.

Key project milestones

November 2011: Agreement signed

January 2012: Start of enabling works in the south

July 2012: Start of construction in the south

December 2012: Start of construction in the north

October 2013: Start of tunnelling, south to north

December 2014: Start of tunnelling, north to south

September 2015: Completion of tunnelling/start of commissioning

April 2017: Project completion

Vacuum microtunnelling at Timbertop

The Timbertop Outfall Sewer Project involves the installation of approximately 3.5 km of new sewer main for the Timbertop Estate housing development, located in Officer, Melbourne. Due to a number of constraints including rail, major roads, and overhead power, it was necessary to bore approximately 1.5 km of sewer along the alignment.

The project proponent is South East Water, who awarded the contract for the project to Delplant in May 2012. Trenchless Civil was contracted by Delplant to complete all boring works for DN300-550 mm sewer on the project. Trenchless Civil is utilising the Vermeer AXIS laser-guided boring unit to install the 16 associated bores on the project. Pipe diameters for the project range from DN300-900 mm, with a HOBAS GRP pipe preferred by the client South East Water.

Project considerations

The Timbertop Outfall Sewer alignment had a number of constraints preventing open trench installation, including the presence of overhead power lines alongside a major highway. Wetlands are also present along the highway, which would have required significant diversion for an open cut operation. A trenchless alternative also enabled the extensive tree line to be preserved along large lengths of the alignment. Lastly, the alignment crossed and ran parallel to a Melbourne train line, which couldn’t be disturbed by the project.

The sewer depth along the trenchless section of the alignment varied from 5-7 m. Given the highly saturated ground conditions throughout, open trenching would have provided its own issues. Geological conditions were variable, including highly saturated sands, clays and hard mudstone.

Trenchless Civil chose to complete the bores required with the Vermeer AXIS system. A relatively new technology, the system offered benefits including:

  • The vacuum system was considered to provide the fastest laser-guided solution, as production rates achieved with this unit far outweighed slurry or auger technology
  • The AXIS system was seen to be competent in a wide variety of ground conditions, from hard rock to saturated clays
  • Vermeer provided strong technical and mechanical support to Trenchless Civil.

Technology overview

The installation of small diameter gravity sewers precisely on-grade without employing open cut excavation is not new to the wastewater industry. Proven methods have existed for some time, allowing precise trenchless pipe installation to be completed in conditions where digging a trench would be difficult.

In the past, two factors prevented Trenchless Technology from replacing the age-old method of open-cut installation. The first was the productivity of on-grade trenchless installations, which historically fell short of a rate which would make trenchless the preferred method on any gravity sewer project. The second factor was related to ground conditions. If the below-ground characteristics did not allow for the displacement of surrounding soil, then the trenchless methods available were ineffective, inaccurate, extremely expensive or required the boring of a tunnel much larger than necessary for the smaller pipe to be installed.

This Vermeer AXIS guided boring system is a technology which was introduced to address many of the challenges that face boring contractors today. It is a pit-launched trenchless installation method designed to achieve pinpoint, on-grade accuracy, while eliminating some of the difficult steps associated with other installation techniques. The system is comprised of several modular components: the vacuum power unit with a liquid ring vacuum pump, chiller system, 7,500 litre vacuum tank, rack power unit, drill rack, drill head and casings.

The process begins with the digging of a launch pit with a laser set to the specified line and grade required for the pipe installation. The drill rack is then lowered into the pit, and set in position relative to the laser beam. Next, the drill head is set in the rack, and drilling commences, boring a pilot hole to 343 mm in diameter. As the drill head advances, additional drill casings are added to extend the length of the bore. A rotating cutter bit cores the hole, while the vacuum system removes the cuttings through the centre of the drill casings.

At all times, the laser beam is monitored by a camera viewing the target inside the drill head, and minor steering corrections are made to maintain the head on course. Upon reaching the exit pit, the drill head is removed and replaced with a puller head, and the product pipe is pulled into the hole.

The system was created to combine accuracy with productivity. It was also designed to offer an alternative to some of the limitations of current trenchless installation methods, as well as open-cut.

Benefits of the Vermeer AXIS

One of the primary benefits is the flexibility to install a wide range of product pipes. Though the system can also be used to push pipe, the ability to pull pipe does not restrict this technology to only vitrified clay pipe (VCP),
reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) or steel. In fact, the preferred method of installation with the system is to pull in the pipe, allowing the use of high density polyethylene (HDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or ductile iron pipe (DIP). As would be expected, a fused or restrained joint is always the best option when pulling.

Requiring only ground resistance to steer, the cutting technology of the system allows a wide range of ground conditions to be addressed, from soft soils to hard rock. If conditions change from soft to hard ground during a bore, the drill head can be backed out of the hole. Cutters can be changed from clay cutters to rock cutters or vice versa to better suit the ground conditions.

The components are modular, allowing for multiple truck configurations and job site set-ups. The drill rack, which is the ground engaging portion of the machine, can be set-up in a pit as small as 3.6 m
long by 2.4 m wide. This limits the disruption to only one lane of traffic if an entire road cannot be closed. In addition to the favorable pit dimensions, the system does not require a structural or engineered shaft. In other words, no thrust blocks or expensive shaft construction methods are required, since the machine does not generate massive thrust tonnages to force the pipe through the ground. The unique vacuum boring technology simply cores the hole and removes all the spoil as soon as it is cut in the hole. This also results in a clean pit that can then be used for manhole construction if called for in the project plan.

In most ground conditions, if the maximum outside diameter (OD) of the product pipe is smaller than the 343 mm pilot hole, a pullback head replaces the drill head at the exit pit, and the pipe installation is performed while the drill casing is removed, section by section, from the launch pit. If the OD is larger than the pilot hole, a cutter and back plate are attached to the pullback head, and the hole is cut to the desired dimension. Similar to the pilot bore, all cuttings are removed through the vacuum tube, so the hole remains clean and with a relatively low friction coefficient. Though fluids are used, they are also removed immediately by the vacuum, which lowers the probability of ground reaction.

Though designed primarily for the average 90 m manhole-to-manhole distance, bores of up to 150 m have been successfully completed. And all these features are available in a machine that is capable of achieving pinpoint accuracy due to the laser guidance. The system can also be used on large diameter, shallow bores without the risk for ground heave and inadvertent returns. This is because the bore hole is cored, with little or no ground compaction, since all the cut material and fluids are removed from the bore hole. Also, bores that may not require strict grade, but are classified as difficult access for other trenchless methods, are candidates for this technology.

Timbertop project site

Tunneling conditions have ranged from saturated sands to highly saturated clay and hard mudstone rock at the Timbertop project site. The project requirements were as follows:

  • A total of 16 microtunnelled bores with individual bore lengths ranging from 50-130 m
  • Shallow grades to 1:500 along the alignment requiring exacting tolerances
  • Installation of approximately 1,500 m of HOBAS sewer pipe of size DN300-550 mm.

The Timbertop Outfall Sewer Project required a total of 16 bores varying in length and geology. The maximum length bore for the project is 130 m, from man hole (MH) 22 to MH 23. The pipe type being installed was a DN550 HOBAS GRP (SN 40,000) with a clay back reamer cut size of 575 mm. The grade for this bore is a shallow 1:500.

Geology for MH 32 to MH 34 indicated saturated clay and saturated sand. Moving further along the length of the pipeline, from MH 34 to MH 39 was highly saturated clay, while from MH 39 to MH 40 pockets of hard mudstone began to appear. MH 40 to MH 41 was hard mudstone for the full 125 m bore.

Delplant contracted Trenchless Civil to undertake works for a road crossing, MH 37 to MH 37-1. The road crossing is 53 m in length and required a cut size of 575 mm at a grade of 1:300. It consisted of a 550 mm diameter steel sleeve pipe which encased a 300 PVC product pipe. The steel sleeve sections are two metres in length and welded together at the joints with 100 mm stitch welds. Five HD-100 centralisers are used in one spacer around the perimeter of the PVC where there are two spacers per 3 m length of PVC. Once the centralisers have been attached, the PVC is jacked into the steel sleeve casing and grouted in position.

Trenchless Civil had numerous challenges to overcome while boring and installing the product pipe at Timbertop. The project required some bore lengths to be more than 120 m with the maximum length being 130 m. In doing so, Trenchless Civil had to contend with very minimal grades (1:500) and non-supporting ground including saturated sand and high saturated clay. Results to date have shown great success, achieving precision alignment and level control.

The installation of non-restrained joint pipe in non-supporting ground conditions proved a unique challenge for the project. An additional pipe jacking frame was fabricated specifically for the Timbertop Outfall Sewer, enabling the non-restrained joint HOBAS pipes to be pushed from the retrieval shaft as the drill casings were removed from the launch shaft. This was essential to maintain the integrity of the pipe string, given the possibility of ground collapse throughout the alignment.

The pipe jacking process involves a HOBAS pipe being placed onto the jacking frame and jacked or pushed into the tunnel bore immediately behind the pullback head. This enables full ground support throughout the length of the bore. With the aid of the power pack and hydraulic extensions running to the jacking frame, the HOBAS pipe can be easily jacked at the required speed and pressure that is needed to ensure there is no separation between the pullback cutter head and the HOBAS pipe. A steel can was fabricated ranging in sizes suited to the bore that allowed approximately 500 mm tolerance before separation. Close communication between launch and retrieval shafts was essential during this process.


Challenging ground conditions and jobsite circumstances required an innovative approach to the execution of the Timbertop Outfall Sewer Project in Officer. Trenchless Civil counted on years of experience and new microtunnelling technology to overcome those challenges, and has achieved success throughout the course of the project.

This is a prime example of how a technology can be adapted to varying ground conditions or pipe specifications when other construction methods or alternatives cannot offer the desired outcome or solution.

Microtunnelling tackles train tracks

As Pezzimenti Tunnelbore’s NSW Manager Jim Shooter says “All of these microtunnels were completed over weekends working 24 hours a day to minimise the disruption for rail passengers.

“Rail crossings are all very high risk projects – dealing with ground changes from clay to rock, and you can imagine the major problems that could be caused by a microtunnelling head failure, or if the microtunnelling head was to encounter an obstruction – work has to stop and you could potentially have a microtunnelling head stuck under an operating railway.”

The below examples are all projects that the team from Pezzimenti Tunnelbore successfully completed on time while navigating the difficult conditions.

Sydenham railway crossing

Sydney Water required a 560 mm watermain to be constructed under the railway station at Sydenham, Sydney. The main contract was won by Diona Constructions, who then let the microtunnelling work to Pezzimenti Tunnelbore. The microtunnelling was scheduled to be carried out during a rail shutdown over the weekend 18-19 May 2013.

Diona Constructions excavated the 4.5 m deep launch shaft so the jacking frame could be lowered well in advance of the shutdown weekend. As the launch shaft was 38 m from the Railcorp property line, this distance was able to be pipe jacked prior to the weekend shutdown. This left 58 m of 1,020 mm microtunnel to be pipe jacked during the shutdown.

Two crews of five men worked consecutive 12 hour shifts commencing 3 am Saturday morning. The first shift jacked eleven pipes (26 m), the second shift commencing at 3 pm on Saturday afternoon jacked ten pipes (24 m). The next shift had three pipes to jack on their shift and they broke through at 8 am, leaving the remainder of the shift to remove the microtunnelling head from the exit shaft, retract the 39 rods and grout the annular space between the jacking pipes and the microtunnel. The jacking frame and the remainder of the equipment were removed from site over the next couple of days. Diona then welded and inserted the steel main and completed pipework including the connections to the existing reticulation system.

Great Western railway crossing

Holcim Australia is constructing a large manufacturing facility at Rooty Hill adjacent to the company’s pipe manufacturing works. The high voltage power feed to the new facility required an under line crossing under the Great Western Railway line at Rooty Hill. The crossing was 59 m long, 700 mm diameter jacking in 500 mm Humes S-series RC jacking pipes. Railcorp required the works to be carried out during a weekend rail shutdown in conjunction with scheduled railway maintenance.

The rail shutdown was scheduled from midnight 22 February until midnight 24 February 2013. It was planned to microtunnel the first 16 m prior to the shutdown. The remaining 43 m would be microtunelled (with two crews working consecutive 12 hour shifts) and the annular space between the pipes and the microtunnel grouted during the shutdown.

Wade Engineering handed over the shaft and the jacking frame was established in the days prior to the weekend. The first 16 m was microtunelled by the end of the Friday.

Railcorp delayed the start of the shutdown until 5 am Saturday morning. Microtunnelling commenced in torrential rain. The drilling progress was excellent and all 43 m of microtunnelling was completed by the second crew at 4 pm on the Saturday afternoon. The head was disconnected and the rods removed. The annular gap was grouted on the Sunday and amid the continuing heavy rain over the next few days, the conduits were pushed and the grout around the conduits was poured.

Gosford railway crossing

Pezzimenti Tunnelbore received a phone call at 4.30 pm on a rainy Saturday afternoon from Diona Constructions. The call came just as a Pezzimenti Tunnelbore 700 mm head was breaking through on a rail crossing microtunnel at West Concord for Ausgrid.

“I know what the answer is, but I must ask,” the Diona representative said. “Can you come to Gosford tomorrow and complete a 700 mm x 66 m long microtunnel by midnight tomorrow night?”

Unsurprisingly, he got his expected answer. But by the following week, Pezzimenti Tunnelbore had inspected the Gosford site and began preparations for the works.

Ausgrid required a high voltage power cable to cross under the main Northern Railway just north of Gosford in order to provide an alternate power supply to consumers on the western side of the railway. A major facility requiring the security of an alternative supply was Gosford hospital.

Diona Constructions had originally awarded the contract for the boring to an interstate auger-boring company as Pezzimenti Tunnelbore was unavailable for the project. The interstate contractor arrived on-site prior to the shutdown but then needed to modify equipment before he was able to commence drilling, losing valuable rail shutdown time on the Saturday morning. After 4 m of the total 66 m bore was completed, a mechanical failure of their equipment stopped all drilling on the Saturday morning of the rail shutdown. Hence the phonecall from Diona Constructions, asking Pezzimenti Tunnelbore to urgently make their way to Gosford.

When the team from Pezzimenti Tunnelbore arrived on-site, arrangements were made to modify the shaft – the 10 m shaft was reduced to 6 m long – and develop a program for completion. Ausgrid were hopeful that due to the urgency of the works Railcorp would approve the microtunnelling to be completed under live rail traffic conditions.

Pezzimenti Tunnelbore proposed to work three 12 hour shifts 6 am until 6 pm for three consecutive days – 22-24 March 2013. The proposal was approved by Railcorp and Diona made the necessary changes to the shaft to enable commencement of the microtunnelling by lunchtime on 22 March.

Work continued in the single 12 hour shift on the Saturday and breakthrough occurred mid-morning on 24 March. The slurry spoil was carted some 103 km to a licensed waste facility using four of Pezzimenti Tunnelbore’s vacuum tanker and vacuum bin/hook truck combination units.

Main Northern railway crossing

Power distributors Ausgrid needed to cross the Main Northern Railway in two locations to extend its network of high voltage feeder lines. The two crossings were approximately 1 km apart and Railcorp required both crossings to be carried out during a weekend rail possession. Railcorp had scheduled a number of weekend possessions at approximately 12 week intervals throughout the year and Ausgrid set the date for the rail crossings to be completed over the weekend 2-3 March 2013. Ausgrid let the head contract to Dunmain.

Dunmain completed the construction of both shafts ready for the establishment of the microtunnelling equipment on site and for the jacking frames to be concreted in by Thursday prior to the weekend. Due to the close proximity of the rail, only a few metres were drilled prior to the rail shutdown. The remaining works – 48 m of 900 mm and 30 m of 700 mm pipe jacking – were required to be completed during the shutdown, which was scheduled to start at midnight Friday night and end midnight Sunday night.

The 20 pipes were jacked in over the weekend, with work proceeding on a 24-hour basis. Breakthrough occurred at 10.30 am on the Sunday. The head was removed, rods retracted and the annular space grouted between the pipes and the microtunnel on the Sunday shift during the shutdown as required. The conduits were inserted and then grout encased in the few days following the weekend. Railcorp required the rails to be constantly monitored in case of rail settlement. No settlement occurred either during or after the microtunnelling works.

The importance of planning

All of these projects completed by Pezzimenti Tunnelbore highlight the fact that any trenchless project must have its greatest input at the planning stage.

One of the most difficult microtunnelling projects is microtunnelling under a rail line during a track shutdown. Most of the issues that can affect microtunnelling become hypercritical – start time, rates of progress and fall back options in case of breakdown, or encountering obstructions, among other things, are all crucial in completing these projects on time.

Pezzimenti Tunnelbore has proved time and again that when time is limited and accuracy is paramount, the company has the confidence and experience to get the job done right, on time, every time.

Industry outlook: construction to boom again in Australasia

On winning office in September 2013, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared the country to be “÷open for business’, with a raft of major infrastructure projects on the government’s agenda for the next few years. In the six months since
the Coalition Government came to office, there has been a noticeable increase in optimism for those involved in the trenchless industry as a result. This positivity has been evident in reports from the Australian Drilling Industry Association and Civil Contractors Federation.

Part of this optimism stems from the new Coalition Government’s infrastructure commitments.

The Coalition has so far committed over $A20 billion to new or upgraded infrastructure projects, including investing almost $A5 billion of additional funding over the next four years. Alternate financing options for infrastructure projects, such as investment from the private sector, are being investigated by the Coalition, which could boost the provision of new infrastructure beyond any levels that could be achieved with Government funding alone.

Funding allocated from the Coalition Government includes $A1.5 billion to get Melbourne’s East West Link underway; $A1.5 billion to ensure the WestConnex project gets underway in Sydney; and $A1 billion to support the Gateway Upgrade North in Brisbane. These large road projects have substantial flow-on effects for drillers, who will be required for the re-routing and installation of underground assets needed for such road works. On Queensland’s Gold Coast we are already seeing this happening, with a major suite of HDD and microtunnelling works undertaken to relocate existing assets as part of the construction of the city’s new light rail network. For more information on this project, turn to page 55.

While there has been scepticism about the NBN roll-out under a Coalition Government, the Government has stated they will continue to roll-out “broadband using whichever is the most effective and cost efficient technology”, which again is positive news for the drilling industry.

Water utilities are typically investing around twice the amount of capital into renewing assets as they are investing in growing asset networks. While investment rates are high, councils and utilities are seeking to stretch their spend as far as possible in an effort to make every dollar toward ageing networks count. The rehabilitation industry in Australia remains fiercely competitive with a handful of key players dominating the market, which is the result of several years of contraction.

New Zealand

It’s a similar story in New Zealand, with the country also moving into a more positive economic climate, and a construction boom of sorts taking place. Particularly well documented is the major scope of works underway as part of the massive effort required to rebuild the city of Christchurch, which was devastated by the February 2011 earthquake. It has been estimated that the total cost of the rebuild of Christchurch could be up to $NZ40 billion dollars.

Rebuilding of horizontal infrastructure (roads, freshwater systems, wastewater systems and stormwater systems, among others) is being undertaken by the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT). SCIRT is an alliance made up of government bodies and the contractors involved in the rebuild.

Throughout its rebuild of Christchurch, SCIRT has used Trenchless Technology extensively, with relining of watermains happening almost constantly across the city, and pipe bursting also being frequently used to replace damaged water infrastructure.

Also currently underway in New Zealand is the Waterview Connection project, one of the most important infrastructure developments ever to take place in New Zealand. The Waterview Connection will deliver 5 km of six-lane motorway through and beneath Auckland’s western suburbs, linking State Highways 16 and 20 to complete the city’s Western Ring Route by 2017. Half of this new motorway link will be tunnelled. By undergrounding so much of the motorway, the NZTA is able to deliver maximum regional and national benefits with minimum long-term footprint on the surrounding communities.

In addition to the actual tunnelling works, as in the Australian road projects, the trenchless industry will benefit
from all of the re-routing and installation of underground assets that will be required as part of the project. For more on the Waterview Connection project, turn to page 24.

Skilling the workforce

With the recent positive conditions in the building and infrastructure sectors in Australasia, the focus now turns to supplying the skilled workforce required to undertake these major projects.

Training the next generation of trenchless practitioners is always a priority for the ASTT, and will continue to be so in the years to come. The ASTT has some exciting new developments to announce in the near future regarding training for the industry, which will be covered in the June edition of Trenchless Australasia.

There have also been calls to increase the skilled migrant intake across Australasia, the argument being that training and development will only do so much to address growing skills shortages. Last December, a top Australian business lobby group urged the Federal Government to immediately up its migrant intake from 190,000 for 2013-14 to 220,000 for 2014-15 to cover growing skills shortages. Chief Executive for The Australian Industry Group Innes Willox said “While upskilling our current workforce remains a priority, a larger skilled migration program will be necessary to manage the current situation and to assist in smoothing the path to future growth.”

Future outlook

The future for the infrastructure industry – and in turn the trenchless industry – across Australasia is looking bright. With record investments in major new projects, many of which will have a construction timeline of several years or more, it seems that there will be a steady stream of work available in the years to come.