Stirling Hinchliffe, Queensland?s Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, announced that once the TBMs have completed tunnelling, the last 180m of each machine, containing the back up gantries and conveyor belts, will be removed before the front ends are concreted into two burial chambers nearly 50m underground, in the Brisbane suburb of Lutwyche. This avoids three months of additional surface work and the need to construct a new shaft and work shed for the extraction work.
?The removable elements will be taken out via the tunnel network but as the 12.48m cutterhead and the shield are wider than the completed tunnels built by the machines, they will remain underground,? Stirling Hinchcliffe said. ?Two burial pits of 14.5m long by 14.5m wide by 16.5m deep will be constructed in early 2011.?
As of December 2010, more than 60 per cent of the construction of the two Airport Link tunnels from Toombul to Lutwyche was complete and approximately 80 per cent of all spoil had been excavated – after 13.5 million man hours worked by over 3700 people across the project at a cost of $2 billion. The project has replaced the Airport Roundabout and opened the Airport Flyover eastbound lanes for airport bound drivers.
When it opens in mid-2012, Airport Link will be the first major motorway connecting Brisbane city with the airport and northern suburbs. It is expected to improve travel times in a city providing six new lanes for drivers between Bowen Hills and Kedron and four new lanes between Kedron and Toombul.
Source: Queensland Government