Tun­nel project stops for next step

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Drilling at the Water­view Con­nec­tion project has stopped for three weeks in prepa­ra­tion for the next stage of the mas­sive mo­tor­way project.

In the mean­time a gi­ant white gantry will be pushed into the tun­nel be­hind Alice, the project’s tun­nel bor­ing ma­chine.

The gantry – which is 95 me­tres long and weighs 400 tonnes and is the first of its kind in the world – will be used to lift into place large con­crete cul­verts.

They will cre­ate a pas­sage­way on the tun­nel floor to carry ser­vices like wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions links be­low the new mo­tor­way.

Twin 2.4km-long tun­nels, which are both 13.1m in di­am­e­ter, are be­ing con­structed to con­nect the south­west­ern and north­west­ern mo­tor­ways as part of the western ring route. Trans­port Agency’s high­way man­ager Tommy Parker says work is ahead of sched­ule.

‘‘We had orig­i­nally planned to stop tun­nelling for six weeks to get the gantry into place, but thanks to a lot of prepara­tory work and in­no­va­tion on site we’ve man­aged to cut the time in half.’’

Un­der ground: Drilling has stopped while the Water­view Con­nec­tion team pre­pares for the next stage.

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