DAILY TELEGRAPH – Project Sydney Dig Deep To Fix Sydney’s Transport Woes
11 OCTOBER 2017
MATTHEW BENNS, Editor-at-Large, The Daily Telegraph
THEY’RE tunnelling far from the light of day to ensure Sydney’s future is bright.
There are 2000 workers toiling away beneath our feet on the $20 billion, 65km-long North West Rail Link. And the state-of-the-art super-tunnel, which will be at the edge of the Harbour in less than two years, will pass the two-thirds marker this week.
With the first deadline a mere 18 months away, four tunnel-boring machines have burrowed twin tunnels 15km to Epping, dragging 4.47 million tonnes of Sydney sandstone — enough to fill 1800 Olympic swimming pools — out through the new Bella Vista station in the Hills District and onto trucks to be recycled.
The westbound tunnel of the Sydney Metro project’s Bella Vista Station.
Across Sydney, building sites are disrupting traffic, blocking roads and filling the air with noise and dust — but that is just a fraction of the work that is being done underground. The Bella Vista station looks like any other building site from the surface but beneath the ground it is the starting point for a massive 30km-long tunnelling operation.
“One of the great things about tunnelling is that we can contain the disruption,” Sydney Metro chief Rodd Staples said.
“The work is being done underground so a lot of Sydney can get on with their day without being disturbed … It is so deep underground they will never feel the trains.”
Trucks are scheduled to move plant and rock out of peak hours.
“People are putting up with all the disruption on the roads every day but when we are done we are going to have an absolutely fantastic transport system for the city of Sydney,” Mr Staples said.
The tunnelling is up to 60m underground, under parks, roads and rail lines as much as possible to avoid disturbing homes and businesses.
The $8.3 billion Sydney Metro will deliver 31 new metro stations along 65km of new track from Rouse Hill in Sydney’s northwest to Bankstown in the southwest.
Deep underground, the tunnelling work goes on.
At the end of 2019 a specialised boring machine will begin digging two tunnels through sandstone and sediment beneath Sydney Harbour. When it is finished the automated train will deliver people from a station in the heart of North Sydney to Martin Place in just over four minutes.
The giant tunnelling machines will then weave under the city with GPS-guided laser precision, avoiding existing tunnels and the foundations of giant tower blocks. On the surface the disruption will be minimal as rock is sent back along train tracks to be dispersed away from the CBD.
The new look Bella Vista station. Picture: Transport for NSW
Bella Vista will be transformed by the new transport hub.
“When (John) Bradfield was building Wynyard station the whole of Wynyard was dug up and the city was shut down. Imagine that today? The disruption would be tenfold,” Mr Staples said.
“But with new technology everything has changed. We have gone through a situation where Bradfield did open-heart surgery while we are doing keyhole surgery, which allows us to avoid the impact of Bradfield’s day.”