Five months on from the discovery of PFAS contaminated soil on the Westgate Tunnel project, the two main tunnel boring machines (TBMs) remain idle with no certain plan for how to dispose of the soil waste. The Age is today reporting that half of the TBM operators (150 people) will be retrenched with the machines not expected to become fully operational for a further 6 months. This comes as a major blow not only to the workers themselves but any prospect of the project being delivered on time in 2022. Experienced operators and engineers had expected to be engaged on the project for the next 2 years and with the North-East Link tunnel at least 12-16 months away from commencement prospects are slim outside of the metro tunnel project.
With experienced labour already stretched by the East-Coast Infrastructure ‘Boom’, how many of these people will be available in 12 months time? 2021-2023 is looking to see a peak in tunneling activity in Australia with Melbourne Metro, Cross River Rail, North-East Link, Snowy 2.0 and Sydney Metro West all actively digging at the same time.
Read more at The Age here.