Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
- Expressions of interest are called for a single package of tunnelling and new track and station civil works in Sydney for the estimated Aust$8.5 billion (US$8.9 billion) North West Rail Link (NWRL).
- At the same time New South Wales Transport, owner of the NWRL project, has signalled its intent to build a second Sydney Harbour rail crossing into the central business district (CBD) to enable NWRL users to change trains at its southern terminus at Chatswood.
- The new harbour crossing is Stage 4 of a newly-published Five Stages of Sydney's Rail Future plan announced by Transport for New South Wales. The NWRL is Stage 3.
- The announcements by the New South Wales Government on Friday, 29 June, follows an industry briefing held three days earlier and attended by more than 320 delegates representing 170 companies.
- Briefing documents circulated to those in attendance, and seen by TunnelTalk, show that the NWRL project, linking Cudgegong Road in the northwest suburbs, with Chatswood, will be completed as three separate contract packages:
• A tunnelling and underground station civil works (TSC) design-construct contract, for which expressions of interest (EOI) are called
• A surface and station civils (SSC) design-construct contract, for which EOIs will be called in October following a separate industry briefing, and an
• Operations, trains and systems (OTS) PPP contract, for which industry briefings will begin later this month, with EOIs being called in late 2012.
Four TBMs will excavate 15.5km of twin-running tunnels
- The full scope of the completed NWRL includes laying 23km of new track between Cudgegong Road and Epping, 15.5km in tunnels and 8km in a mixture of at-grade and elevated track, plus the upgrade of 15km of existing line linking Epping with suburban Chatswood in north Sydney. From Chatswood passengers will be able to access the city and CBD areas by changing trains.
- Closing date for submissions of EOIs for the tunnelling and underground station civil works (TSC) contract is July 31, after which selected prequalified companies and consortia meeting the required experience, capability and skills criteria will be invited in October to deliver bids for a lump sum design-construct contract.
- Contract award for this package is expected in the third quarter of next year (2013), with tunnelling commencing in 2014. Scope of the TSC package includes:
Briefing meeting agenda
• 15.5km of twin segmentally lined running tunnels, predominantly by TBM but with
some roadheader headings, to an i.d. of 6m, for a total excavation length of 31km
• Excavation of four underground stations between Bella Vista and Epping at Cherrybrook, Castle Hill, Hills Centre, and Norwest
• Mined caverns, niches and openings for crossovers and equipment
• Cross passages at 240m intervals
• A concrete linning for all underground infrastructure
- In total four TBMs are expected to excavate the tunnels.
- "We are now beginning the tender process for the multi-billion dollar construction contract to build the longest and deepest underground rail tunnels in Australia," said Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW Minister for Transport. "Major tunnelling work is on schedule to start in 2014."
Four TBMs for Sydney's $8.5 billion rail link - TunnelTalk, April 2012
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