A Lend Lease – Bouygues Joint Venture 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, Australia. Thirteen out of the nineteen 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 order received for the Sochi Olympic Park excavation over five years ago.
The NSW 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 9km in length, with two lanes and a breakdown lane in each direction, as well as an increased height clearance of 5.3m with a speed limit of 80km/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
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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.