As NSW commits to the $6.4Bn Sydney West Metro Project tunneling from the CBD to Parramatta, we thought we would take stock of the state of infrastructure tunnelling in Australia.
In 2019 we estimate that up to 15 Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM's) will be active in Australia working on: Melbourne Metro, Westgate Alternative (VIC), WestConnex (NSW) and Sydney Metro City & South West. This number continues to rise in 2020 with the expected commencements of: North-East Link (VIC), Sydney West Metro, and possibly even the Snowy 2.0 project. It certainly is a promising time if you know how to dig a hole!
All of this activity led us to wonder why every project seems to purchase their own TBM's - surely you would just move the ones they used on the last project? Apparently not. Apart from offering a nice photo opportunity for smiling politicians and the usual fun of running naming competitions, it seems that the life of a TBM is short lived with many literally digging their own graves. In many cases, it is more economical to strip down the reusable components underground and then literally bury the rest of the machine rather than trying to extricate it for reuse.
To find out more about these projects, follow the links below: