Sydney Harbour, NSW

Region Review: NSW rolls on through COVID storm

Western Sydney Airport Metro approved

Tunnel boring machines are expected in the ground by the end of 2023 after the Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport project received planning approval from the NSW Government in July 2021. Major construction is scheduled to commence in the coming months, with tunnelling contracts awarded by the end of the year. 

A total of 23 km of driverless metro will service western Sydney and the new Western Sydney International Airport between St Marys Station and the future Western Sydney Aerotropolis in Bringelly. The new railway line will become the transport spine for Greater Western Sydney, connecting communities and travellers with the new Western Sydney International Airport. 

The railway line is expected to transport up to 7,740 passengers each hour in each direction and it is anticipated the new infrastructure could take 110,000 vehicles off local roads each day, significantly reducing traffic congestion. The project will support 14,000 jobs, including 250 apprentices.

Byron Bay undertakes $1.4m network upgrade

Major upgrades to the region’s stormwater drainage network commenced on Monday 9 August. The Byron Shire Council has provided a $1.4 million grant from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program to upgrade Byron Bay’s stormwater drainage network, which covers across Lighthouse Road, Paterson Street and Kipling Street. 

“We are very excited to be delivering these critical works, which include the construction of kerb and gutter and underground stormwater drainage on Lighthouse Road,” says Byron Shire Council Director of Infrastructure Services Phil Holloway.

These works will reduce stormwater runoff that currently impacts Clarkes Beach, mitigating the impact to the environment. Mr Holloway says that once upgraded, the stormwater network will capture, detain and that runoff from the roads and surrounding properties. 

The works are expected to take four months to complete. 

The proposed Belmont desalination plant and offshore pipeline.

Planning approval granted for potential desalination plant and pipeline

In August, the New South Wales Government approved Hunter Water‘s plans for a desalination plant at Belmont as a drought response measure, with the project to include pipeline installed under the ocean floor using trenchless technology as far as 1 km offshore.

The plans are a reaction to water storage levels in the Lower Hunter, which recently reached its lowest point in nearly 40 years. The plant is designed to produce up to 30 million L of drinking water per day in response to drought.  

This follows in the wake of the most recent drought of 2019-2020, which saw the introduction of water restrictions for the first time in decades. The Hunter Water team worked closely with the NSW Government, key stakeholders, and the local community, and planning approval was issued yesterday by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. 

The desalination plant, once constructed, will receive direct ocean seawater intake by piping seawater from 1 km offshore. 

The intake structure would be installed at a depth of approximately 20 m, extending 5 m above the ocean floor, and the pipeline will be installed under the ocean floor via a trenchless tunnelling method.

Hunter Water Managing Director Darren Cleary says desalination is one of the few water supply options that is not dependent on rainfall. This would mean that with the construction of a plant, Hunter Water could continue to supply communities irrespective of changes in weather or climate. 

While the likelihood of having to construct the plant is low, it was imperative that Hunter Water sought planning approval, should it need to build in the near future. 

“Planning approval for the Belmont desalination plant gives us an additional tool to help close our supply gap during periods of drought, providing Hunter Water with the capacity to provide up to an additional 30 million L of water each day,” says Mr Cleary. 

Hunter Water says the project approval was supported by comprehensive environmental impact investigations, which evaluated the potential impacts that could be mitigated through detailed design and delivery. These assessments found that a trenchless method would have the least significant impact on marine life, while the intake would also be designed to reduce the chance of marine life being drawn into the pipeline. 

Construction of the desalination plant could take three years. 

Byron Bay, NSW
Byron Bay’s stormwater drainage network spans across Lighthouse Road, Paterson Street and Kipling Street.

Australia’s longest road tunnel canvassed

In May, the NSW Government announced it was investigating the possibility of constructing an 11 km tunnel through the Blue Mountains. The project would connect two proposed tunnels into a longer tunnel as part of the Greater Western Highway upgrade between Katoomba and Lithgow.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole says linking the two tunnels already determined for Blackheath and Mount Victoria would deliver a more reliable connection through the Blue Mountains.

“The NSW Government knows how important this upgrade is to the people who use the Great Western Highway every day and in improving connections between Sydney and the Central West, which is why we committed $2.5 billion to deliver a once-in-a-generation upgrade to this key corridor,” he says.

“As part of this upgrade, we’ve already committed to a 4.5 km tunnel to bypass Blackheath and a 4 km tunnel underneath Victoria Pass, one of the steepest roads in NSW. We’re now investigating connecting those two proposed tunnels into one longer tunnel. 

“This would be a history-making project, delivering Australia’s longest road tunnel and

allow motorists to avoid all the current pinch points from Blackheath in the east to Little Hartley on the western side of Victoria Pass. It will also mean less disruption for local residents and businesses during construction and a smoother, safer journey for those travelling underneath Blackheath and Mount Victoria as well as those travelling above.”

The government says construction on the Great Western Highway Upgrade is expected to start at Medlow Bath in 2022, with the full upgrade expected to be completed within 8 to 10 years.

Harbour project deemed national priority

In June, the proposal for a second Sydney Harbour tunnel listed as a national priority project by Infrastructure Australia. The Western Harbour Tunnel and Warringah Freeway Upgrade was added to the Infrastructure Priority List as a Priority Project, with the proposal from the NSW Government involving the construction of a 6.5 km twin three-lane motorway from the Rozelle Interchange to the Warringah Freeway near North Sydney.

The Warringah Freeway between the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Willoughby Road would also be upgraded. Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Romilly Madew says constructing the new tunnel would be beneficial economically and for the community. 

“The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel are critical transport links – carrying more than 250,000 vehicles each weekday as people travel into the CBD and through to other parts of the city,” she says.

“By 2031, this is expected to increase to 300,000 as Sydney’s population grows. Without an additional harbour crossing, we expect there to be additional traffic and delays around the Sydney CBD. 

Apart from impacting community access to school, work and other essential services, our 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit found that if not addressed, congestion on this part of the road network could cost the NSW economy more than $780,000 per day by 2031.

“The business case developed by the NSW Government demonstrates a wide range of benefits for both drivers and public transport users, including significant travel time savings and improvements in travel time reliability.”

Boretech D24x40S3 for Vermeer WA & NT

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WA-based Boretech Contracting started as an installer of underground services for Telstra and the National Broadband Network but has since expanded and secured long-term horizontal directional drilling (HDD) contracts for a range of utility projects.

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Culvert relining

Pipe relining methods take socials by storm

It’s also the latest Buzzfeed fascination.

Trenchless relining methods have gone viral on social media, with Buzzfeed sharing a video on Instagram about “the satisfying trade you didn’t know you needed to learn about.” 

The internet media mogul posted the video, “A Crazy Way to Fix Pipes”, on 2 September, which has now received nearly half a million views. 

The video shows an innovative method for relining pipes that eliminates the need for excavation, making it a much more cost effective and time efficient solution that eliminates disturbance to the surrounding environment.  

The clip shows a sleeve covered in resin being pushed through the old or damaged pipe by a bladder of compressed air. 

The resin is coated on the inside of the old pipe and cures into a new, smooth lining. 

First, the old pipe is removed of any debris so the lining is able to fit through the pathway, then the pipe is inspected and measured so the lining and bladder can be cut to size. 

In order for the sleeves to turn into hard pipes, they are lathered in a resin with different chemical compounds depending on the use of the pipe. 

Next, the deflated bladder is inserted into the pipeline and pushed through the pipe. 

The bladder then fills with air and stays in place until the resin is cured. 

According to the video, jobs using this pipe relining method can generally be completed within two hours. 

The video now has more than 400 comments, with viewers commenting on the practicality and innovation of the solution. 

To view a list of pipe relining contractors, visit our directory. 

Airport opts for underground construction

Sydney Airport is upgrading its Northern Pond Apron Bays 83, 84 and 85 from layover positions to serviced active bays, which will be capable of bussed arrivals and departures.  

To support the operations of active bays, the current infrastructure in these locations required an upgrade for refuelling capabilities, aircraft ground power and preconditioned air.  

To facilitate this refuelling ability, an existing 450 NB fuel feed feedline was extended from its existing termination point to a new junction pit at Bay 83, and Rob Carr was contracted to complete these complex installation works.  

A trenchless solution  

Rob Carr Construction Manager Andrew Scarr said the project included constructing a 523 m long DN900 reinforced concrete jacking pipeline using slurry pressure balanced microtunnelling to install it in three separate drives.  

These drives were carried out predominately through saturated ground conditions consisting of silt, sand and fill.  

To complete the tunnelling and allow for the installation of the 450 NB fuel pipeline within the DN900 concrete pipe, Rob Carr also constructed in situ concrete caissons.  

“The project also included the construction of two 9 m ID caissons and two 4 m ID caissons, which provided a dry and safe working environment for the tunnelling crews to conduct operations,” said Mr Scarr.  

“Caissons were also chosen to minimise dewatering”.  

Mr Scarr said the construction of the second 4 m ID caisson was challenging due to its location, being adjacent to the runway, which required all plant and equipment within the obstacle limitation service; however, at this location it was only 1.4 m above ground level.  

To overcome this challenge, Rob Carr locally lowered the ground level, reduced lift/pour heights on the caisson and only worked while the runway was closed from 11pm-5am and mobilising and demobilising required plant and equipment for each shift.  

Additionally, Mr Scarr said some challenging drilling conditions were encountered with large amounts of foreign material being encountered on the second line.  

“This was able to be dealt with due to the correct selection of microtunnel boring machines (MTBMs), a highly experienced MTBM operator and the perseverance of the MTBM crew enabling the line to be finally completed on line and level.”  

Mr Scarr adds that Rob Carr was also responsible for the management and treatment onsite of assets, the management and disposal of drilling water and the establishment of compounds. 

Working alongside Mr Scarr was Rob Carr Operations Manager Justin Croucamp, with the two men responsible for overseeing the overall construction program and management of the works.  

Additionally, Mr Scarr and Mr Croucamp provided support to both the project’s Project Engineer and Supervisor, being Jamie Leal and Damian Coward respectively.  

“Though the conditions were quite challenging, the project was completed successfully and well ahead of the contract schedule.”  

For more information visit the Rob Carr website. 

This article was featured in the March 2021 edition of Trenchless Australasia. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet or mobile device, click here.

Snowy 2.0 TBM commissioned

Snowy 2.0 will link two existing Snowy Scheme reservoirs, Tantangara and Talbingo, with 27 km of waterway tunnels and a power station with 6 pump-turbines located about 800 m underground. 

Snowy Hydro recently celebrated the commissioning of the first of three TBMs, with the Lady Eileen Hudson TBM set to excavate the 2.6 km main access tunnel and provide access to the site of the project’s underground power station cavern.  

Snowy Hydro CEO Paul Broad said 1,000 people were already at work on Snowy 2.0. 

“The commissioning of the Lady Eileen Hudson TBM is an important milestone for the project and it’s great to see the cutterhead rotate,” he said.  

“Tunnelling operations will soon be underway around-the-clock at Lobs Hole, building about 40 km of tunnels needed for the project. 

”Overall this project is delivering 4,000 direct jobs and thousands more in the supply chain. 

“Snowy 2.0 is critical for the energy market and consumers and will provide on-demand energy and large-scale storage to underpin Australia’s transition to renewables.”  

The Lady Eileen Hudson TBM will excavate the main access tunnel, before being relaunched underground to excavate the tailrace tunnel to the Talbingo Reservoir intake for a total of 7.9 km. 

For more information visit the Snowy Hydro website.  

APLNG proposes HDD for gas wells

A joint venture (JV) between Origin Energy, ConocoPhillips and Sinopec, APLNG is seeking federal approval to drill thousands of new gas wells in Queensland as part of its Gas Supply Security Project. 

In its referral documents, APLNG said it would construct the wells using HDD and would also incorporate this technology for drilling of pipelines under threatened ecological communities, threatened flora, threatened fauna habitat and migratory fauna habitat.  

The JV cited forecast gas supply shortfalls from 2024 onwards as reason for undertaking the new drilling activity, as well as the potential for increased gas demands and increased reliance on Queensland supplies as production from Victoria continues to decline. 

The new gas would be used for both the domestic gas market and the export demands of APLNG, with current appraisal data showing production from 2P resources expected to be 453.6 PJ of gas. 

If the proposal is successful construction is likely to commence in 2024. 

For more information visit the APLNG website.  

ASTT makes calculated steps towards carbon reduction

The purpose of the ASTT is to advance the science and practice of trenchless technology for the public benefit, while promoting education, training, study and research and practice for the public benefit and to publish the useful results of the same.

With this in mind, paralleled with the global goal of reducing carbon emissions, the ASTT formed a Special Interest Group (SIG) of leading industry professionals to create a solution that supports the mitigation of climate change impacts.

Primary purpose

Mott MacDonald Water Sector Lead New Zealand, and Carbon Calculator SIG member Thomas Haarhoff says the carbon calculator “aims to use carbon as a measure for efficiency, encouraging people to innovate and get better results around their carbon emissions”.

“As trenchless construction may not always be the low carbon option, the calculator will help our clients and organisations to make informed decisions about reducing their carbon footprint,” he says.

“The intention of the calculator is just to be a simple tool. For example, contractors can say they have 100 m of sewer to be relined, sliplined, etc., and can use the calculator to determine which of the options will have the lowest carbon output.”

With an impending global need to reduce carbon emissions, the calculator will play a vital role in helping the trenchless sector do its part by acting as a tool for ASTT members to promote trenchless technology usage, allowing informed decision making to occur between various construction methods and driving innovation on carbon reductions.

“The main thing is, people potentially underestimate the carbon impact of construction and the total carbon we emit every year,” says Mr Haarhoff.

“By focusing on the industry, we can make a great change towards carbon emissions and climate change.”

Calculated steps

The ASTT says its Carbon Calculator is not to be relied on to make commercial decisions nor is it a tool that will accurately define Capital Carbon Baselines, noting that there is no specific, quantified carbon goal that the calculator aims to reach. Rather, the tool will be used to promote best practices across the industry.

The three steps the calculator aims to take are:

  1. Reduction – reduce the carbon impact of infrastructure.
  2. Behaviours – improve the behaviours of designers, constructors and entire supply chains to reduce infrastructure carbon.
  3. Union – create a common way of working to calculate carbon reductions across the industry, setting the narrative.

Mr Haarhoff says the calculator will be used on individual projects and tested across various areas, with the onus on contractors and client organisations to use the tool and consider their own impacts.

Ongoing developments

Mr Haarhoff says the calculator is still in early stages, with the ASTT receiving its application approval in June.

At the end of June, four different suppliers had submitted tenders for the calculator’s development, with the winning bid yet to be announced.

During the early days of the Carbon Calculator’s development, the SIG plans to continue promoting the innovation through its usual channels such as the ASTT forums, which are currently taking place as virtual events due to COVID-19 restrictions.

There will also be sessions dedicated to carbon calculator at next year’s No Dig Down Under event, which is the largest conference and exhibition dedicated to trenchless technology in the southern hemisphere.

If you are interested in being involved, please contact event organiser Great Southern Press on +61 3 9248 5100 or email

This article was featured in the September 2020 edition of Trenchless Australasia. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet or mobile device, click here.

For more information visit the ASTT website.

If you have news you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Assistant Editor Sophie Venz at

Prioritising health in a post-COVID climate

by Sophie Venz, Assistant Editor, Great Southern Press

Australia has committed to the Paris agreement with its climate change target being a reduction in national emissions by 26–28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Through direct action policies that reduce emissions, increase energy productivity and improve the health of the environment, the Federal Government says the nation is on track to meet its 2030 target.

Trenchless technology tackles the target

Trenchless technology, when compared to open cut methods of excavation and construction, eliminates the need to remove and then replace large sections of material aboveground, saving a considerable amount of time, manpower and – most topical of all – energy.

The March edition of Trenchless Australasia featured a thorough look at how trenchless companies can drill down on their operational emissions, with the article discussing how companies that have not adjusted their operations to prioritise a cleaner future are often on the wrong end of public sentiment.

Because of such public pressure, major projects – such as the Metro Tunnel project in Melbourne, Victoria – are monitoring, managing and mitigating the emissions produced by construction works in accordance with international, Commonwealth and state-specific legislation, objectives and requirements.

However, these changes are not only being enforced by construction projects and their contractors.

Across the Australasian region, utilities, corporations, associations and societies are putting forward their objectives to work towards net-zero emissions. For example, global fuel additive company Cataclean’s aim is to drive down carbon emissions, with Director Jason Sharman saying mining and infrastructure industries amount to approximately 25 per cent of the world’s carbon pollution.

“While heavy machinery is working hard output is high in both emissions and fuel consumption. Cataclean can reduce both of these environmental dangers, save money and [help] with the ever-increasing demand on companies to reduce emissions,” he says.

Additionally, speaking on behalf of the ASTT about the currently in-development Carbon Calculator, Mott MacDonald Water Sector Lead New Zealand Thomas Haarhoff says “reducing carbon emissions has almost become a moral obligation,” rather than simply an option.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, this push for a cleaner future does not solely involve the benefits to counteracting climate change and the health of environment but the health of the population itself.

Creating a climate of health

Although the health benefits of a low-carbon world are currently topical, it is not a new phenomenon. In 2012, a Health and Environment Alliance report stated climate change and human health are deeply intertwined, which should be considered when new policies are developed.

“Moving to a low carbon economy will be associated with substantial health benefits,” says the report.

“These health benefits have a substantial economic impact everywhere, including in industrialised countries.”

While there are many health concerns associated with the human consumption of carbon emissions, notable occurrences include increasing air pollution levels that will lead to more widespread diseases, more cases of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and, ultimately, a higher fatality rate.

Counteracting these issues with low carbon emission solutions would benefit both humans and the environment, and help prevent a future wear protective masks are necessary to combat both contagious viruses and the air itself.

Change for change

‘Population health’ stems even further than the physical wellbeing of individuals and extends to the economy as well. Australia’s economy – like many others across the globe – has been severely affected by COVID-19; however, reducing emissions may be able to play a helping hand in bringing some much-needed pocket-change into Australia’s finances.

In 2019, the Melbourne Sustainable Societies Institute at the University of Melbourne released a report that found the nation would spend AU$535 billion on economic damage alone within the next decade if emissions continue at the current rate.

This means, by reducing carbon emissions and curbing the impact of damaging climate actions, the Australian economy would be AU$550 billion better off by 2030.

“Overall, the costs of emissions reduction are far less than the damages of inaction – even with modelling underestimating damages from climate change and overestimating the costs of emissions reduction,” the report says.

The reports authors Tom Kompas, Marcia Keegan and Ellen Witte find the change would present Australia with a sound economic development, where “the economic benefits of a transition to a clean economy easily outweigh the costs”.

Whether a company’s desire is to reduce its carbon emissions for the sake of counteracting climate change, preventing further illnesses from spreading to the population or to assist with economic recovery, it is clear the benefits of a low carbon economy can provide a brighter global future.

This article was featured in the September 2020 edition of Trenchless Australasia. To view the magazine on your PC, Mac, tablet or mobile device, click here.

If you have news you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Assistant Editor Sophie Venz at

View the latest trenchless technology tenders

View the latest trenchless technology tenders

WRH copper pipe replacement main works
Issued by:
Capital and Coast District Health Board
Closing date:
5 August 2020
New Zealand
This WRH Copper Pipe Replacement Main Works project involves works pipes and valves as well as fittings and pipeline construction.

Newman Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade
Issued by: East Pilbara Shire Council
Closing date: 11 August 2020 
Location: Western Australia 
Description: The Shire of East Pilbara is seeking tenders from suitably qualified and experienced consultants to provide consultancy, preliminary design and superintendent services.

Construction of bore(s) – Dunsborough Non-Potable Water Project
Issued by:
Busselton City Council
Closing date:
28 August 2020
Western Australia
The City of Busselton is inviting tenders for to engage an adequately skilled and experienced contractor to: (a) construct, test and equip exploration, production and/or monitoring bore(s) on Mewitt Road, Quindalup as part of the City’s Dunsborough Non-Potable Water Network Project; (b) comply with DWER requirements in relation to a Hydrogeological Assessment Report for these bores (as specified in the Drilling Licence); and (c) if required, provide the city with a report on the beneficial use (availability, volume, quality and sustainability) of groundwater available for extraction from this bore(s).

Glenkenich Water Treatment Plant Upgrade
Issued b
Clutha District Council
Closing date:
26 August 2020
New Zealand
: Tenders are invited from suitably qualified and experienced tenderers to undertake water and sewage treatment plant construction for the Glenkenich Water Treatment Plant Upgrade.

Beechworth sewer trunk main and pump station
Issued by:
North East Water
Closing date:
31 August 2020
Description: North East Water is seeking suitably qualified and capable contractors to act in the capacity of principal contractor to detail the final design and construct a sewage pump station and transfer main in the township of Beechworth, Victoria. The project context is diverse and challenging, requiring construction in undulating terrain and constricted spaces, microtunnelling within the ‘unrippable’ Mt Pilot granite and excavation and boring in Parks Victoria land and residential streets with heritage sensitivities.

Construction of Melton to Bacchus Marsh (M2BM) Interconnector Pipeline
Issued by: Western Water
Closing date: 10 September 2020
Location: Victoria
Description: Western Water is seeking tenders for the construction of the Melton to Bacchus Marsh (M2BM) Interconnector pipeline. The work involves: installation and commissioning of approximately 12 km of 600 mm diameter RRJ GRP pipe and associated fixtures; trenchless crossing of the Werribee River including design and installation of associated structures; and interaction with various landowners for construction within easements on private property/farms.

Each fortnightly edition of the Trenchless Australasia e-newsletter includes a list of tenders relevant to no-dig contractors, suppliers and manufacturers.

The information is provided by Australian Tenders, which is renowned for being an Australia-wide locally owned and operated tender notification service.

Australian Tenders is also offering readers of Trenchless Australasia an extra three months on their subscription plans.

Email for more information.

For more tender information visit the Australian Tenders website.

If you have a tender you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia contact Assistant Editor Sophie Venz at

Relining SIG gets reformed

In 2016, the Linings SIG was formed to develop standard specifications that all asset owners in Australia and New Zealand could use with confidence.

After limited success at the time, the ASTT is now proposing to resurrect the group that at this stage will be chaired by New Zealand Councillor Blair Telfer.

The group intends to develop training courses and material for pipe lining, similar to the North American Society for Trenchless Technology (NASTT) courses but instead with an Australasian perspective.

ASTT Secretary Jeff Pace said the SIG is always open to other suggestions and ideas from individuals and companies as to what the industry needs and wants.

To register your interest for the SIG, please contact

For more information visit the ASTT website.

If you have news you would like featured in Trenchless Australasia Assistant Editor Journalist Sophie Venz at