Tunnel-boring machine (TBM) Grace has broken through the Bayswater dive structure, marking a significant milestone for METRONET’s Forrestfield-Airport Link project.
METRONET has six projects underway in 2020, with another TBM, Sandy, expected to complete tunnelling in May.
TBM Grace’s journey has been lauded by WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“The precision engineering it has taken for this machine to tunnel eight kilometres, through varying and sometimes challenging soil types, to break through in exactly the right spot is truly remarkable,” Minister Saffioti said.
In late July 2017, TBM Grace set off from Forrestfield to Bayswater, building one of two tunnels that will house the $1.86 billion project’s rail lines.
Half of the 54,000 locally fabricated concrete segments – used to form the walls of the twin tunnels – were installed during Grace’s journey, with her route taking her under Perth Airport and the Swan River and through diverse ground conditions.
On the way she passed through Airport Central and Redcliffe Station boxes, large structures in their own right.
TBM Grace will now be dismantled and craned out of the dive structure in preparation for the arrival of TBM Sandy, who is a safe distance behind Grace and is expected to finish tunnelling in May.
WA Premier, Mark McGowan, said, “Completing the Forrestfield-Airport Link is a key part of our METRONET plan to connect Perth’s suburbs and ease congestion.”
Trains are set to run on the new rail line in the second half of 2021, providing a 20-minute rail link between the eastern foothills, Perth Airport and the Perth central business district.