First milestone for Perth’s Forrestfield-Airport Link

Preparations for the $1.86 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link are ramping up following delivery of the first 600-tonne tunnel boring machine to be used on the project.Preparations for the $1.86 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link are ramping up following delivery of the first 600-tonne tunnel boring machine (TBM) to be used on the project.

The TBM has arrived in Perth this week where it will be assembled and tested before starting operations at Forrestfield.

It will be craned into the dive structure at the site of the new Forrestfield station and will commence its two-year journey in July 2017.

The $20 million machine is one of two TBMs to be employed on the project. Both will each dig eight kilometres of seven-metre diameter tunnels for the project, including under Perth Airport and the Swan River.

The machine, manufactured by German firm Herrenknecht and only one of nine of its kind in the world, spent nine months in China for initial assembly and testing before it arrived in Australia this week.

“The TBMs use new dual-mode, variable-density technology, which is important given the varied ground conditions between Forrestfield and Bayswater,” said Western Australia Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“The machines will tunnel under Perth Airport and the Swan River, reaching a depth of 25 metres, and the conditions underground on the route are incredibly diverse – ranging from sandy material to clays and rock, all under water.”

A video of the heaviest components of the TBM, the 74-tonne cutter-head and 164-tonne front shield (each seven metres in diameter), being delivered is available at https://www.youtube.com/embed/vUoP6zG3O8Y?wmode=opaque

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