Another tunnel boring machine (TBM) is ready to be launched to dig a rail crossing under Sydney Harbour as part of the Sydney Metro project.
TBM Kathleen has passed its final inspection and has been assembled deep under Barangaroo.
The 875-tonne machine will begin digging the first of twin one-kilometres tunnels, 40 metres below the Sydney Harbour at its deepest point, digging through clay, silt and sediment.
After building the first tunnel, TBM Kathleen will have its cutter head and main section lifted out at Blues Point and placed on a barge to return to Barangaroo as its support trailers are pulled back through the first tunnel.
It will then be launched again to build the second tunnel, where it will then be retrieved at Blues Point and be taken away by barge.
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TBM Kathleen is named after Kathleen Butler, who played a vital role in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as technical advisor to John JJC Bradfield.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance joined workers 30 metres underground to complete the final inspection of TBM Kathleen.
“Not since Bradfield delivered the Sydney Harbour Bridge almost a century ago has there been a vision for public transport on the scale of Sydney Metro,” Constance said.
“Now, TBM Kathleen is shaping Sydney’s future as she gets ready to build the first railway tunnels under Sydney Harbour.
“This is the next stage of Sydney Metro which will deliver a turn-up-and-go Metro service stretching 66 kilometres from Rouse Hill in the North West to Bankstown in the South West and the CBD in between.”
Berejiklian said the North West Metro has been an incredible success and it is just a taste of what is to come with the turn-up-and-go services being extended under the harbour and through the CBD.
“Since opening one month ago there has been an average of 65,000 journeys on weekdays, taking people off motorways, buses and the existing rail network,” she said.
“Over the past month 20,000 fewer cars used the M2 compared to the same time last year and up to a 20 per cent fall in usage at key stations on the T1 Western Line.
“This demonstrates the enormous community benefits of Metro and now delivery of the next stage is underway, with a tunnel boring machine almost ready to start digging the second harbour rail crossing.”