METRONET tunnel boring machines reach Airport Central Station

Perth’s two tunnel boring machines (TBM) have reached the Airport Central Station for the Forrestfield-Airport Link.

This is the first time the machines have reappeared since they began tunnelling in late 2017.Perth’s two tunnel boring machines (TBM) have reached the Airport Central Station for the Forrestfield-Airport Link.

The machines have arrived at track level of the future Airport Central Station, 17 metres below ground.

Both TBMs have been given nicknames, with one being nicknamed Grace, the other Sandy.

A dedicated workforce prepared 2200 square metres concrete blocks for the machines to enter the station through, which also stabilised the walls to reduce water ingress during the breakthrough.

Both machines will now be subject to a month-long maintenance program for cleaning and servicing.

TBM Grace will continue towards Redcliffe station, followed by TBM Sandy two weeks later.

The METRONET Forrestfield-Airport Link aims to provide a 20 minute direct link between the eastern foothills and the CBD via the airport.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said these breakthroughs are an exciting milestone for the METRONET project.

“The scale of these machines are incredible, they are taller than a two-storey house, and the footage of them boring into the box structure is equally impressive,” Mr McGowan said.

“This job-creating, city-transforming project is just one element of our record rail investment for METRONET.”

Federal Urban Infrastructure and Cities Minister Paul Fletcher said the Federal Budget has helped deliver the METRONET projects,

“As well as this investment, the Australian Government has committed $943.5 million for a new Perth Congestion Package to ease pressure on the urban transport network and improve safety,” Mr Fletcher said.

“This brings the total federal METRONET commitment to $2.33 billion, bringing our broader commitments in the state to $9.6 billion from 2013–14 to 2021–22, as we continue to roll-out our $75 billion infrastructure investment package across the country,” he said.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said this is the first of many METRONET rail projects, which will each bring benefits to the community.

As Transport Minister, I am thrilled to see TBM Sandy and TBM Grace have arrived at the future Airport Central Station. It is a visible sign of great progress on the project,” Ms Saffioti said.

“This is the biggest rail project to take place in WA for more than a decade, and will dramatically change the way eastern foothills residents travel, how their communities develop, and how the rest of Perth journeys to Perth Airport.”

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