The International Tunnelling awards are back for their fourth year with refreshed categories and a brand new international location.
Brought to you by New Civil Engineer, Ground Engineering, and supported by the International Tunnelling & Underground Space Association, the awards recognise overall excellence in the delivery of international tunnelling projects.
With increasing populations and greater demands for more efficient transportation networks, the Middle East will see some of the largest tunnelling projects in the world under development over the next decade. With this in mind, Dubai will play host to the 2013 NCE International Tunnelling Awards.
As ever, there is range of categories to suit the entire industry, from Product/Equipment Innovation to Specialist Tunnelling Project and Innovative use of TIM.
Entries are FREE so make sure you enter any relevant categories and increase your chances of becoming an award winner. Entry deadline 5 July 2013
New spending of $3 billion over the forward estimates as part of a $24 billion infrastructure package includes $3 billion for the Melbourne Metro rail project and $1.8 billion for the WestConnex motorway in Sydney. $400 million will be allocated to Sydney's F3-M2 link and a further $715 million to Brisbane's Cross River Rail project.
The New South Wales Government has received an offer to build a tunnel connecting two of Sydney's busiest motorways.
Minister for Roads Duncan Gay says three companies with investments in the M7 - Transurban, QIC and CPP - have lodged an unsolicited proposal to build the F3 to M2 link.
The 8km tunnel would connect the F3 at Hornsby in Sydney's north with the M2 in the north-west, running underneath Pennant Hills Road, and would cost around $3 billion to construct.
Negotiations are underway between the State and Federal Governments on the funding gap, but Mr Gay says a final agreement has not been reached.
In a statement, Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said he was working with the State Government and Transurban on how to progress the project, but it would be inappropriate to speculate on details of the discussions.
Federal Independent MP Craig Thomson said the introduction of a toll is at the heart of negotiations for the project.
"It's more about how the toll may or may not work," Mr Thomson said.
"I've been in negotiations with Minister Albanese over this issue and he advised me this was something that the Government was going to be committed to, and they would be announcing it in the budget, and that there was agreement with the State Government in relation to the amounts of money."
Mr Thomson says he has been told both governments would contribute $400 million towards the tunnel, which he says would provide great relief to his electorate of Dobell on the NSW Central Coast.
The NRMA described the tunnel as a "crucial link" for "frustrated" drivers in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle.
Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese says a much-needed tunnel linking the F3 and M2 motorways in Sydney is a "missing link" in the city's road network.
Mr Albanese confirmed on Thursday the federal government had been in talks for "some time" with the NSW government and TransUrban about the prospect of developing the $3 billion, eight-kilometre tunnel.
Labor has set aside $150 million in the budget since 2008 to progress the issue, and set up a finance working group to discuss ways of drawing private sector investment in key infrastructure projects.
Mr Albanese said while many constructive conversations had taken place around this proposal, nothing was set in stone just yet.
But there was no doubt this tunnel, to run from the F3 near Hornsby under Pennant Hills Road to the M2, would be critical for improving traffic flow for both commuters and freight vehicles.
"The F3 to M2 is a missing link in Sydney's road network," he told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.
"There's no doubt that this is an important road for Sydney, and it's important that infrastructure development be progressed in terms of dealing with traffic congestion in Sydney."
Whether or not a toll would be imposed on such a tunnel was a matter for the state government, he added.
Federal central coast MP Craig Thomson earlier told AAP that cash for the tunnel would be included in next Tuesday's budget.
"I'm very happy that it's made its way into the budget and it's something commuters on the central coast have been looking forward to for some time," said the Labor-turned-independent member for Dobell.
Mr Albanese is set to meet with NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay this week to discuss the project.
The coroner's call for emergency lanes to be built in new road tunnels to avoid a repeat of the Burnley Tunnel disaster is likely to be ignored on the East West Link.
Earlier this year, after an inquest into the horror 2007 Burnley crash that killed three people, former Victorian Coroner Jennifer Coate said "the construction of future road tunnels requires a design that incorporates an emergency lay-by or equivalent".
Victoria's biggest public transport project has been sidelined, with just $10 million committed in the 2013-14 state budget for the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.
The money will go towards further planning for the multibillion-dollar project, a nine-kilometre tunnel beneath the city centre which has been identified by the state's rail planners as the only effective way to create significant new capacity on Melbourne's urban rail network.
It is forecast that peak-hour trains will become increasingly overcrowded without it, to the extent that passengers will be left behind on platforms.
Treasurer Michael O'Brien said the government was committed to the rail tunnel but that more planning was needed before work could start.
The decision not to set a start date on building the tunnel is also a major setback for other proposed rail extensions around Melbourne.
Planned new lines to Melbourne Airport, Doncaster and Rowville have all been made conditional upon building the Melbourne Metro first.
By contrast Victoria's other major transport project, the east-west link, has had a major breakthrough with $294 million allocated over the next two years towards starting construction. The government says the eastern section, between the Eastern Freeway and CityLink, will be built first at a cost of $6 to $8 billion and that the road will be tolled. Federal and private funding will still be required to help pay for the new road, it says.
Elsewhere in the budget, a project of level crossing removals will gather pace, with $402 million committed, $350 million of which is to remove three level crossings in Springvale and Mitcham next year, and $52 million to plan for the removal of four level crossings in Ormond, Blackburn, Bayswater, and St Albans.
But two significant transport projects have been jettisoned. A plan to divert trucks off residential streets in the western suburbs by building off-ramps from the West Gate Freeway has been scrapped.
The government says the $380 million truck action plan - first proposed by the former Labor government - has been superseded by the east-west link, even though the eastern section of the road will be built first. Residents say the trucks are a hazard to health and safety.
A project to rejuvenate the town centre of Broadmeadows and its run-down railway station has also been discontinued.
Both of these scrapped projects were in safe Labor seats. By contrast, the Frankston railway station precinct will be revamped at a cost of $13.8 million, in a boost for public transport users in the seat of independent MP Geoff Shaw.
Funding has been allocated, but not disclosed, for the construction of Southland station on the Frankston line - an important 2010 election promise. The government says it will build the station but cannot say how much it will cost because it is in commercial negotiations with the shopping centre's owner.
Another election promise - placing protective services officers at every railway station - is progressing, with $41 million allocated in the budget for building new station facilities for the guards.
This outstrips the money contained in the budget for new trains - $34.8 million as part of a $178 million outlay on eight new trains.
Santos is one step closer to processing LNG on Curtis Island as their tunnel boring machine is now in motion under Gladstone Harbour.
The 277-tonne tunnel boring machine (TMB) will connect the project’s mainland infrastructure with its LNG facility.
The TMB has drilled 38 metres of rock and soil since it was first launched in early April.
Santos GLNG project pipeline manager Greg Jones said he expected the drilling process to take around a year to complete.
“We expect tunnelling to accelerate to a steady rate of 120 metres each week, taking around 12 months in total,” he said.
Jones said the design of the TBM enabled engineers to assess unfavourable ground conditions, such as earth that is too wet or hard, on the go.
“When the drivers of our machine encounter extremely slushy or rocky earth, an operator can assess the terrain from a chamber at the very front of the machine,” he said.
“Because the front chamber contains gaps through which water and soil are fed to the back of the machine, we can pressurise the air in this chamber to keep materials out.
“The way to describe it is that it’s similar to an airlock chamber on a space shuttle, where the room is sealed off and pressurised air is pumped in before team members enter.
“From this chamber, operators will decide whether tunnelling can proceed or whether we should first change parts on the head of the TBM to change its operating mode.”
Workers using the airlock chamber undergo the same medical assessment used for commercial divers and a two-day training course that covers operation techniques.
The tunnel boring machine has 16 main pieces of kit including a cutterhead, front steering shield, machine shield, tailskin and 11 back-up gantries.
"TBM tunnelling is a cyclical process consisting of two distinct activities - excavation and construction of the walls of the tunnel," Jones said.
"Rock and soil is excavated by rotating the cutterhead, while the hydraulic ram works to push previously installed wall segments into place to stabilise the tunnel.
"Once completed, the tunnel will be flooded with water, and the gas transmission pipeline strung together and pushed and pulled through the length of the tunnel."
GLNG is $16 billion project aiming to convert coal seam gas into LNG for export, and is part of Santos’ clean energy drive.
It sources CSG from the Bowen and Surat basins then transports it, via a 420 kilometre underground pipe, to a two-train LNG plant on Curtis Island.