Tunnelling complete on $1.86B Forrestfield-Airport Link project

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Sandy has broken through at Bayswater dive structure marking the completion of tunnelling for contractor Salini Impregilo on the Forrestfield-Airport Link.

Over 900 days the 130 metre long TBM traveled underground for around eight kilometers including under Perth Airport and the Swan River.

The project had twin bored tunnels, each of eight kilometres with the first TBM Grace arriving nine weeks before Sandy on 18 February 2020.

The tunnels will link three new stations at Forrestfield, Airport Central and Redcliffe to the existing rail network.

On its journey TBM Sandy installed 9,000 tunnel rings comprising of 54,000 locally fabricated concrete segments to form the tunnel walls. These were designed to have a 120-year durability.

As tunnelling is now complete TBM Sandy will be dismantled and craned out of the dive structure. Installation of the first stage of track slab is now around 50 per cent complete and track laying is scheduled to begin in July 2020.

Construction is also continuing for the fit-out of the new station buildings.

The $1.86 billion Forrestfield-Airport Link project currently provides more than 700 Western Australian jobs and, along with the other METRONET projects, will play a key role in WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery.

Trains are set to run on the new rail line in the second half of 2021.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said in July 2017, she was with Premier Mark McGowan at the Forrestfield Station site to mark the start of tunnelling on the Forrestfield-Airport Link.

“Now I am happy to announce tunnelling is complete. TBM Sandy has lived up to her subterranean, and uniquely Western Australian, namesake in completing the second of our two tunnels,” Ms. Saffioti said.

“As we turn to the project’s next phase of construction, TBM Sandy’s breakthrough is a timely reminder of the vital role METRONET projects will play in WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery.”

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