News Articles | 17 December 2019

It has been a year since we brought you news of tunnel boring machine (TBM) Grace reaching the halfway point of tunnelling. Now, 12 months on, Grace is very close to completing her underground journey, with her twin sister TBM Sandy not far behind.

To date, the machines have built a combined 7600 tunnel rings and are closing in on Bayswater Junction, where they are expected to arrive in the first half of 2020.

Earlier in 2019 the crew celebrated an important landmark event, when the final tunnel segment cleared the production facility in Forrestfield. During a two-year period more than 54,000 segments were produced locally.

The team is already excited about the many milestones on the cards for 2020 and the changes that the end of tunnelling operations will bring. However, a well-deserved break is scheduled first. Civil works on all sites will stop from Saturday December 21 to Wednesday January 1. Tunnelling and supporting operations will continue throughout this time, except for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

We would like to thank you for your interest and support during the past year, and wish you and your family a wonderful festive season.

Redcliffe welcomed and farewelled TBMs

The first half of 2019 was all about the countdown to the TBMs' arrival. Following the completion of the base slab at the end of 2018, temporary tunnel segment supports were installed at base level to guide the TBMs through the station box.

After arriving in May and July respectively, TBMs Grace and Sandy underwent a month-long maintenance program, before being sent on the last leg of their tunnelling journeys.

The departure of the machines saw a shift in works at Redcliffe in the second half of the year. A tower crane was erected to facilitate the lowering of tunnel segments into the station box, from where they are being carted to the TBMs via multi-service vehicles (MSVs).

Once the TBMs left, the crew made a start on constructing the mezzanine levels located above the tunnel entries/exits at either end of the station box. The eastern slab was recently finished, with preparation work for the western slab planned for the new year.

Construction also commenced on the station's 500-bay car park. Following earthworks and installation of services, kerbing was installed and the area was primed. Asphalting is ongoing.

Longest escalator installed at Airport Central Station 

Much of the excitement at Airport Central Station this year took place around the delivery and installation of the 35m-long and 15m-high triple escalator system. It is the longest single-span uninterrupted escalator in the southern hemisphere, connecting the Skybridge to the concourse level.

The Skybridge was connected to the station’s elevated entry in November. Final touches to the interior of the walkway will be made early in the new year.

With tunnelling support having ceased after the TBMs reached Redcliffe Station, works on Airport Central Station's infrastructure commenced in earnest. The remainder of the year saw the closure of the concourse slab and the eastern gap of the ground slab, the construction of 75 per cent of the platform, installation of more escalators and stairs, as well as work on supporting steel frames for cladding in the station’s atrium.

Dive structure prominent feature in Bayswater

One of the most significant achievements of 2019 occurred within the dive structure at the Bayswater site, where more than 4000 cubic metres of concrete was poured over 17 separate sessions, forming the base slab of the 400m-long dive.

With the dive structure completed, focus switched to the partial construction of the portal building. Spanning several levels, the lift shaft was constructed in the second half of the year, with construction of the remainder of the building to resume once the TBMs have been removed from the area.

Another highlight included the completion of various retaining and noise walls along Whatley Crescent.

All sights are now set on the arrival of the TBMs, with preparation works in full swing. Already constructed is the pad to support the 400-tonne crawler crane that will lift the TBM parts out of the dive.

Forrestfield Station reached halfway mark

Construction at the Forrestfield site has progressed significantly, with structures now visible at the southern and northern end, as well as the train station itself at the centre of the site.

Located at the tunnel entry/exit, the portal building stands three levels tall. With the installation of external cladding in November, the building’s superstructure was completed and the fit-out crew is now busy installing heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

At the southern end of site, the stowage building, along with the stowage platforms, was completed and entered lock-up stage earlier in the year. The adjacent Transperth car park was asphalted recently – another tick on the list.

However, most prominent was the transformation of the station area. The past 12 months saw the completion of the concourse and platform level slabs, the installation of vertical transport (escalators, stairs and lift frames), and the construction of the northern and southern station buildings, now at internal fit-out stage.

Even Premier Mark McGowan and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti came to visit and celebrate 50 per cent completion of the station in September.

Already the biggest eye catcher in the area, works are underway on the station roof structure, with rusty red-coloured roof sheeting scheduled for installation in February.

Cross passage tally reaches five

During 2019 all three emergency egress shaft (ESS) ground slabs were poured, creating the foundations for the ancillary buildings. Two of the buildings, at the Abernethy Road and Wright Crescent shafts, were partly completed using tilt-up panels and roof sheeting. Abernethy Road EES even saw its lift frame and stairs installed within the shaft.

Airport West EES has been playing host to the cooling towers for ground freezing works, which are ongoing at the three airside cross passages.

With the year coming to an end, the cross passage count totals five, with three tunnel-to-tunnel and two tunnel-to-shaft cross passages completed.

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