rob carr team

Rob Carr begins construction of important Brisbane sewer in $45m Urban Utilities project

Microtunnelling contractor, Rob Carr, has commenced construction of a new 1 km long wastewater pipe running under the heart of Brisbane, Queensland. The Urban Utilities project is part of a major infrastructure upgrade to cater for population growth in the city’s north, which is expected to increase by 37,000 over the next 30 years.

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Central Interceptor celebrates breakthrough

Micro-tunnel boring machine (mTBM) ‘Domenica’ has finished its first drive, successfully breaking through at the Haycock Ave shaft on 10 December.   

Domenica was placed in a 2.1 m diameter pipe for the link sewer that will run between Miranda Reserve in Avondale to the main Central Interceptor wastewater tunnel, connecting up at May Rd in Mt Roskill. 

Once complete in 2026, the Central Interceptor will store and transport both stormwater and wastewater to Watercare’s Māngere Wastewater Treatment Plant, preventing wet-weather overflows and significantly cleaning up Auckland’s waterways.

Watercare delivery manager Chris McCarthny said the process has not been the post seamless for the team. 

“We started tunnelling from our 55 m deep May Rd shaft on this first section of the link sewer in June,” said McCarthny. 

“Domenica was making great progress, working 24 hours a day, five days a week and laying up to 15 metres of pipe a day. And then Covid-19 threw a spanner in the works.”

Work was placed on hold for one day as Auckland entered alert level 4 in August before the project received a crucial exemption.

“With this method of tunnelling called pipejacking, where the micro-TBM and all of the pipes are pushed along from the base of the launch shaft, the machine can get stuck if it sits stationary for too long,” McCarthny explained.

“When we entered lockdown, Domenica was in almost the worst possible position – more than 70 m below the ground and in the middle of residential Mt Roskill – so it was critical to get her up and running again so she didn’t get stuck.” 

The Central Interceptor project operated under a skeleton crew during level 4 restrictions to keep the mTBM moving forward, covering just half a metre a day. 

“Thanks to the incredible people on the project, we were able to implement our level 4 protocols within 48 hours of the announcement and continue tunnelling, avoiding the potentially disastrous consequences of a stuck machine.”

This is the first of many anticipated breakthroughs on the five-year tunnelling project, and according to executive program director Shayne Cunis, the team is pleased to have completed the milestone ahead of Christmas. 

The mTBM will now be retrieved from the shaft at the Haycock site and serviced before it is launched again next year. 

From there, ‘Domenica’ will begin a 720 m journey back to Haycock Ave from the Dundale Ave site in Blockhouse Bay. 

Meanwhile, the Central Interceptor’s main mTBM ‘Hiwa-i-te-Rangi’ launched back in July has laid more than 145 rings and traveled more than 240 m of its 14.7 km journey. 

Hiwa-i-te-Rangi is expected to start tunnelling deep beneath the Manukau Harbour in winter next year.

For more information visit the Watercare website. 


Rob Carr's fleet of tunnel boring machines

Rob Carr: Flexibility is the key to success

Backed by more than 30 years’ experience, Rob Carr has become a reputable name for utilities infrastructure and a market leader in microtunnelling and complex underground works. 

Since it joined VINCI Group, the company has been able to improve its financial capability to bid, design and construct bigger and more challenging projects. 

One of the keys to the company’s success is its fleet of 30 microtunnelling machines, with the largest diameter being 2,180 mm, covering all ground conditions.  

“With our fleet of 30 microtunneling machines, we cover a range of pipeline diameters for trenchless construction,” a spokesperson for the company said. 

The machines are supported by a wide ranging ancillary equipment fleet in the form of control cabins, jacking frames, slurry separation tanks and systems, gantry cranes, and more. 

“These tools are fundamental when it comes to trenchless construction as it improves accuracy,” the company said. 

Rob Carr uses trenchless techniques to successfully construct tunnels for pipeline infrastructure beneath major roads, railways, runways, waterways and environmentally sensitive areas. 

The company uses two main techniques for mirotunnelling: slurry pressure balanced micro tunnelling, and pilot auger soil displacement tunnelling. 

Recently, the company also invested in German  Herrenknecht AVN technology to facilitate the growth of the business into larger scale tunnelling projects.

For more information visit the Rob Carr website. 

Iplex Restrain

Restrain Sewer Pipe – made in Australia by Iplex

Since 1938, Iplex has worked with asset owners and contractors to find solutions for effectively repairing, rehabilitating or replacing existing pipelines while protecting the environment and local residents. 

Restrain™ Sewer Pipe  was specifically designed by Iplex for both new sewer networks and for the repair and replacement of underground gravity sewer infrastructure.

The need for a watertight, instantly restrained joint motivated Iplex to design and deliver Restrain – a PVC-U thread joint pipe with a rubber ring seal.

It is not your everyday threaded connection: it was designed for both trenched and trenchless installation.

Restrain is designed to keep boring diameters small while maximising flow, for long shot length with high push/pull strength and instant retention with a positive seal in the joint.

Restrain capitalises on the characteristic of PVC-U and is suitable for use in deep installations. The unique qualities of Restrain maximise the use of existing maintenance shafts as launching pits. 

Restrain is suitable for many different installation methods, including open trench and trenchless installations: such as horizontal directional drilling (HDD), auger boring or guided boring, micro-tunnelling and more. 

While previously imported, Restrain is now proudly manufactured in Australia, and meets strict national and product standards, and also has a positive WSAA appraisal.

Iplex has been recognised for its exceptional customer support and end-to-end capabilities and will be holding a technical webinar to allow customers to hear from the Iplex product & technical experts and also ask questions about Restrain.  The webinar will be hosted on Thursday 25 November at 11:00 am AEDT and will run for approximately 40 minutes.

Click here to register. 

For more information visit the Iplex website. 

watercare wastewater scheme upgrade

Watercare upgrades wastewater scheme in north Auckland

According to Watercare, Warkworth is expected to grow significantly in population, with up to 20,000 people migrating to the area over the next few decades.

The utility is undertaking a number of significant wastewater infrastructure projects to accommodate this anticipated growth, one of which is the Warkworth to Snells transfer pipeline. 

Watercare is tunnelling more than 5 km of new pipeline from Lucy Moore Memorial Park to the new wastewater treatment plant in Snells Beach.

Tunnelling will be carried out deep underground by direct pipe tunnelling — a method that was successfully deployed on the Snells-Algies wastewater outfall. 

The Snells-Algies wastewater pipe and outfall was constructed back in 2020 as the first phase of a three-stage scheme to supply the Warkworth and Mahurangi East communities north of Auckland. 

Warkworth wastewater map. Image: Watercare
Warkworth wastewater map. Image: Watercare

Micro-tunnelling expert McConnell Dowell was awarded the design and construct contact by Watercare in March 2019. 

The project set a new world record for the longest direct pipe drive by a micro-tunnel boring machine (MTBM), reaching 2021 m – a whole 92 m further than the previous record set by McConnell Dowell in 2018. 

The Warkworth to Snells pipeline will be delivered in conjunction with the Lucy Moore Memorial Park wastewater pump station and the Snells Beach wastewater treatment plant. 

The Warkworth wastewater scheme is expected to be completed in 2024. 

For more information visit the Watercare website. 

Watercare Central Interceptor TBM

Watercare projects pick up

Watercare’s projects have picked up across Auckland City, with works resuming on the NZD$1.2 billion (AUD $1.14 billion) Central Interceptor wastewater project.

Work came grinding to a halt after Auckland was placed under level 4 restrictions last month, under which only minimal work involving the two Central Interceptor tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were allowed to continue to prevent sinking and damage.

Water executive program director Shayne Cunis said the team is enthusiastic to be ramping up work again.  

“We had only just launched our main TBM Hiwa-i-te-Rangi before we went into level 4, and there was significant work required to complete on-site assembly as she progressed forward,” said Cunis.

“We have managed to keep her inching forward at a minimum rate, and, as of the end of alert level 4, we have installed 18 of the 9008 concrete rings of the Central Interceptor.” 

Cunis said that anyone who is not essential onsite will still be working from home.

“As we move into alert level 3, we will increase our production to target rates over the coming weeks, while ensuring we are looking after our team’s health, safety and wellbeing as the majority of them return to work. 

“We have enhanced COVID-19 management protocols which include mask wearing, maintaining strict work bubbles, carrying out daily temperature checks for all site staff, and disinfecting all overalls every day.”

Works are also picking up in the second stage of the Papakura Water Treatment Plant, which will provide up to 12 million litres a day from Hays Creek Dam when it is completed early next year.  

Works will also proceed on the new Mairangi Bay wastewater pump station, Clevedon’s new water and wastewater network, the replacement of the Huia 1 water main, where works are underway in Mt Albert and the Pukekohe Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade.

For more information visit the Watercare website.