The 600-tonne, world-class machine spent a little more than 900 days tunnelling through varied and sometimes challenging conditions, reminiscent of its insect namesake, the sandgroper.
The milestone was achieved just nine weeks after TBM Grace arrived at the same location on February 18 after 934 days of tunnelling.
Unfortunately, celebrations and social distancing do not mix well, so it was virtual high fives all around. However, the breakthrough is a timely reminder of the key role METRONET projects will play in WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery.
The end of tunnelling rings in a new phase for the project with emphasis now on tunnel fit-out and civil construction. To date 50 per cent of the first stage of the track slab has been constructed within the tunnels and 35 per cent of TBM support pipes have been removed. Track laying is expected to commence in July.
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End of an era in Bayswater
Following her breakthrough mid-February, TBM Grace has now been fully disassembled and craned out of the dive structure, with the last few sections of the once 130m-long machine ready for removal from site.
The same fate is awaiting TBM Sandy, finalising the tunnel-boring chapter of the project.
At the western end of site works are underway on sections of the principal shared path (PSP). To enable these works a number of trees had to be trimmed, which was actioned in conjunction with the City of Bayswater's arborist.
Installation of infrastructure supporting the permanent Midland and Forrestfield lines has also commenced. This includes masts for overhead lines, and signage. The final shift of the Midland Line is scheduled for later this year following the temporary relocation in December 2017.
Rail delivery is now complete, with more than 600 lengths stored at Bayswater and the remainder at Forrestfield. Earthworks to prepare for the installation of rail are scheduled for the coming weeks, with intermittent compaction required.
Shaping up the Redcliffe Station car park entry
Stage one of the construction of the new roundabout at Second Street and Boulder Avenue started following the Easter break. Making the most of the reduced holiday traffic, access from Second Street to Boulder Avenue will be temporarily closed to motorists to facilitate the removal of kerbs and road surface.
Within the station box, all sight is now set on the construction of the 150m-long platform – the last platform to be constructed for the three new stations.
Progress has also been made on the fit-out of the eastern and western mezzanine levels, with wall frames up and some dry wall for back-of-house areas in place.
As per its eastern end counterpart, the gap within the western ground slab has been closed and waterproofing works for the area is underway.
Airport Central Station nearly under cover
With the placement of all 12 locally-fabricated steel modules complete, the 51m-wide station roof frame now stands proud and tall. Installation of roof sheeting, which will enable internal fit-out works during the rainy season, is scheduled to commence shortly.
Another project milestone was achieved recently, with the Skybridge, which will connect the station to the airport terminals, now completed.
Steelworks for the eastern end of the mezzanine level – the area accessible to staff only – has been completed, and the same set of work is now underway on the western end.
Crews are about to recommence fit-out on the vertical transport. First up are the escalators connecting the concourse and platform levels, followed by the large escalator located in the station's atrium. Next in line will be the station's lifts. Fit-out of these services is extensive and will take about eight months to complete.
Tick in the box for Forrestfield roof sheeting
Forrestfield Station continues to take shape with all roof sheeting now in place. Other roof-related works underway include installation of the aluminium bullnose edging and framing around the future skylights.
Inside the station, fit-out is continuing on the two escalators, as well as the centrally-located information booth. Outside of the station, works are underway on the foundations for the bus canopy.
Backfilling of the station retaining wall has been completed and earthworks have now begun to shape the required permanent ground levels between the station and future access roads.
The 135kv traction power substation is about 70 per cent complete. Works for the substation include installation of in-ground services and a wall near Maida Vale Road and Ibis Place.
Ground freezing finalised for cross passages
Airport West Emergency Egress Shaft (EES) is starting to catch up to the other two, more advanced egress shafts. Tilt-up panels for the lower ancillary building are now in place and installation of the roof frame has commenced. This progress comes following the demobilisation of the ground freezing plant located at the Airport West EES site.
With final touches to the concrete lining complete, all three cross passages built using the ground freezing method are now constructed. This takes the cross passage tally to eight of 15.