Lend Lease-Bouygues JV has awarded Sandvik Mining and Construction Australia a contract to provide the majority of roadheaders required for the North Connex highway tunnel project in Sydney. Thirteen out of the 19 roadheaders required for the project will be supplied by Sandvik, consisting of six MT720 units, one MT620 and six MT520 units. This represents the largest single order for Sandvik tunneling roadheaders since the Sochi Olympic Park excavation in 2009.
The New South Wales government, Transurban and the M7 Westlink Shareholders (the project sponsors) are in process to build, operate and maintain a tolled motorway linking the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga to the Hills M2 Motorway at West Pennant Hills – called North Connex. When complete, it will link Sydney’s north to the Orbital network, and form part of the National Highway route. The scheme includes twin motorway tunnels around 9 km in length, with two lanes and a breakdown lane in each direction, as well as an increased height clearance of 5.3 m with a speed limit of 80 km/h. Each tunnel will be built with long-term capacity for three lanes, but will initially operate with two lanes and a breakdown lane in each direction
The Lend Lease-Bouygues JV (LLB JV) was formed originally to construct the East West Link project in Melbourne and North Connex. The group was the successful bidder on both projects, but following the cancellation of the East West Link project the focus switched to North Connex. Lend Lease is a globally operating Australian construction company and Bouygues is one of the largest construction companies in the world, with its headquarters located in France. The JV 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. LLB JV selected Sandvik roadheaders based on past experience being impressed by the performance and reliability of the equipment, as well as Sandvik’s support capability in Australia. Phil Marshall, the Tunneling Plant Manager of the LLB JV project, highlighted that the importance of the reliability of equipment is a necessity in order to meet the project requirements. In addition the relationships with the supplier had to be excellent in order for any issues to be resolved rapidly. This has meant that 13 out of the 19 roadheaders required for the project are being supplied by Sandvik, and will consist of six MT720 units, one MT620 and six MT520 units.
The roadheaders chosen for the project have been designed to excavate roadways, tunnels and underground chambers continuously without using explosives that cause harmful vibrations. Powered electro-hydraulically, they emit no fumes making them suitable for underground construction projects in urban areas. The roadheaders are equipped with state-of-the-art profile control, automatic sequence control system and online data processing possibilities. The Sandvik roadheaders to be supplied to this project are PLC controlled with profile visualization system and precise guidance system.