The Forrestfield-Airport Link is improving public transport options to and from Perth’s eastern suburbs as well as reducing the strain on current transport infrastructure due to anticipated passenger growth. By 2021 the Forrestfield-Airport Link is expected to generate 20,000 passenger trips on the suburban rail network every day – increasing to
29,000 daily by 2031. In addition to providing strategically located stations at Belmont, Airport Central and Forrestfield, the new train line will alleviate road traffic reducing travel times, enable continued growth of Perth Airport, encourage domestic and international tourism with improved access between Perth Airport and the city.
A flagship project for Boral in Western Australia
The Forrestfield-Airport Link is being designed and constructed by the Salini Impregilo-NRW Joint Venture (SI-NRW) for the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia.
SI-NRW is committed to supporting local businesses for the benefit of the project and has subcontracted the supply of the concrete for the tunnel lining segments to Boral Australia.
The Forrestfield-Airport Link is one of Western Australia’s most transformational public transport projects and it includes:
- 8km twin bored tunnels through soft ground conditions below groundwater
- A total of 9.000 concrete rings tunnel lining, built with 54.000 segments
- Environmental value by complete underground tunneling beneath Swan River
- Bus / train interchanges at Belmont and Forrest field
- Tunnel cross passages and egress shafts
- Rail infrastructure and operating systems
- Three new stations: Belmont, Airport Central and Forrest field
During the early pre-tendering stages, Boral invited SI-NRW to trial specialized concrete mixes for the precast segments at Boral’s Maddington concrete laboratory near Perth. Extensive quality, performance and fire testing was conducted, said Julian Walters, Boral’s Project Director, and previously Bid Manager, on the project.
“Winning the work after spending over a year in the tendering phase was very satisfying,” he said. “Boral’s technical knowledge and the ability to perform these trials and tests before a contract was awarded helped de-risk the process for the client at an early stage of the project.”
Boral secured contracts to supply more than 180,000 cubic metres of concrete to the project. Approximately 87,000 cubic metres of highly specified, fire resistant concrete is being supplied from a purpose-built batch plant to form 54,000 precast concrete tunnel segments. Eight-kilometers of tunnels will connect with existing rail services and when complete in 2020, will more than halve the current travel time from the city to Forrestfield and the airport in the east of Perth.
Building on the initial relationship with SI-NRW, Boral is also supplying 93,000 cubic metres of concrete for the construction of two underground and one above-ground rail stations and associated structures; this work commenced in November 2016.
State-of-the-art Precast Segment Production
A Forrestfield warehouse has been transformed by SI-NRW and Boral into a facility to batch the concrete and produce the tunnel lining segments. The segments are trucked for temporary storage to the Forrestfield construction site, from where they are delivered into the tunnel boring machines (TBMs).
MCT Italy, in a true partnership with the Australian Partner Bennett Equipment from Adelaide, delivered a special concrete batch plant to Boral specifically designed to produce the concrete for the tunnel segments.
The high quality concrete containing 40 kg of steel and 2 kg of polypropylene fibers per cubic meter, is batched by no. 2 Eurostar planetary mixer EPM 3000\2000. The concrete has undergone a series of tests to ensure it meets the required standards for strength and durability.
Batching to tight tolerances for all dosed components assured compliance with project requirements, including fire testing held in Germany and Australia.
Segment production in full swing
Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan tried his hand at pouring the concrete for one of the segments during his recent visit to the SI-NRW segments plant.
The Transport Minister Rita Saffioti, who toured the factory on August the 16th remarked on the high quality of the entire process stated that: “Once the tunnel segments are demoulded, they are loaded on to specialized multi-service vehicles at the Forrestfield site, driven into the excavated tunnel and slotted in to place by the high-tech tunnel boring machines.
Creating the individually cast segments through a complete automated concrete batching plant, is a highly precise process.This ensures that the segments are durable & strong enough to enable trains to run through them for many decades to come.”
MCT Italy strengthens market competitiveness of Australian precast producers
Mr. Carl Wildman, Manager of Bennett Equipment, says: “The turn key project as concerns site organization, erection and lifting equipment has been really well organized by all the three parties involved: MCT Italy, Bennett Equipment and Boral. The customer supported us with genuine, collaborative spirit from day one: in such conditions every project is a guaranteed success and it means long lasting relationship”.
Also Mr. Gabriele Falchetti, Executive Australia Sales Manager of MCT Italy, points out:” The recent batching plant installed in Perth confirms that our customers’ oriented
solutions together with high quality components are the win-win cards to play. The very strict tolerances set by Boral to completely meet the SI-NRW’s and Australian standards were a challenge and I can definitely affirm that we are proud of the State-of-the-art plant delivered in Western Australia”.
The Australian Government is investing a lot and Mr. Falchetti Gabriele adds: “Infrastructure projects are increasingly opening up opportunities. For this reason MCT Italy’s plant in Perth draws the attention of the National Precast Association of Australia which is organizing a factory visit during their next meeting in February 2018.
Construction of new tunnels for trains and metros are expected in the near future and we are ready to put our technology, expertise and after sales support at the service of our new customers”.