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Sandvik to supply tunneling machines for project in Australia

The New South Wales Government, Tansurban and M7 Westlink Shareholders have awarded Sandvik a contract to supply tunnel machinery for the construction of NorthConnex project that will link M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga to the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills.

WorldHighways reported that Sandvik will supply 13 of the 19 road headers.

The machine supply deal was made by Lend Lease – Bouygues Joint Venture to Sandvik Mining and Construction Australia. The order includes six of the large MT720 units, one MT620 model and six of the MT520 units. This represents the largest single order for Sandvik tunneling road headers since the order received for the Sochi Olympic Park excavation more than five years ago.

The project is of strategic importance for New South Wales and will help cut journey times and traffic congestion in and around Sydney. This new route will link Sydney’s north to the Orbital network, and form part of the National Highway route when complete.

The project includes driving twin motorway tunnels, each measuring 9 km (5.6 miles) long. The tunnels will have two lanes and a breakdown lane in each direction, as well as a height clearance of 5.3 m (17 ft) with a speed limit of 80 km/h (50 mph). The project will cost in the region of US$3 billion in all and will be Australia’s longest road tunnel when the link opens to traffic.

The Lend Lease – Bouygues Joint Venture (LLB JV) was formed originally to construct the East West Link project in Melbourne and NorthConnex. The group was the successful bidder on both projects, but following the cancellation of the East West Link project the focus switched to NorthConnex. Lend Lease is globally operating Australian construction company and Bouygues is one of the largest construction companies in the world, with its headquarters located in France. The Joint Venture is a 50-50 partnership.

Mechanical cutting with roadheaders was selected as the most suitable excavation method for North Connex. This was due to the large number of different tunnel profiles (intersections, ramps, shafts) in the project scope, and the accurate excavation profile required.

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