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Airport Link project celebrates tunnel breakthrough

PM News
February 22, 2011

Queensland’s Airport Link project reached a milestone when ‘Rocksy’, the first of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) broke through to the 23-metre wide purpose built cavern deep underground at Wooloowin, marking the halfway point of its 2.5-kilometre journey to Lutwyche.

“The tunnelling teams have achieved good progress with the TBMs travelling at a rate of up to 110 metres a week underneath streets and parklands between Clayfield and Wooloowin,” said Thiess John Holland project director Gordon Ralph.

He reported that back‐up work has already commenced to construct the smoke ducts and tunnel cross passages. “When this work is complete, focus will move to the installation of ventilation fans, traffic management devices and tunnel safety systems,” Ralph said.

The project’s second TBM, ‘Sandy’, is expected to break through into the Kedron caverns next month, and both TBMs are scheduled to complete their 2.5-kilometre journey by the middle of the year, he noted.

Since its launch from Kalinga Park in July, Australia’s largest TBM has already excavated over 1,200 metres of tunnel. To date, more than nine kilometres of tunnelling has been completed across the project. The combined efforts of TBMs ‘Rocksy’ and ‘Sandy’ alone have resulted in more than 2.2 kilometres of excavations, now lined with concrete.

More than 15 million man hours have been devoted to the project thus far, with 70% of the project now complete. The Airport Link is scheduled to open to traffic in mid-2012.

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