The Italian Job: Forrestfield-Airport rail link tunnelling work guided by Italian expertise

Richard Graham above the entrance to the tunnel at the site of the future Forrestfield train station. Picture: J Bianchini
Richard Graham above the entrance to the tunnel at the site of the future Forrestfield train station. Picture: J Bianchini

ITALIAN expertise is guiding the tunnelling work in the Forrestfield-airport rail link.

Salini Impregilo is a joint venture partner in building the rail under Guildford Road, the Swan River and Perth Airport between the foothills and Bayswater.

The Italian company’s project director Richard Graham said they would take particular care under the airport.

“We will be mining everything under water so we have to be very careful,” he told the Gazette.

“And going under the airport runways, we have to be extra careful. It is not too difficult but in tunnelling you can never take shortcuts.”

Would boring under the Swan River be difficult?

“Psychologically yes but in reality it is no different being under the river from being under the ground here,” he said.

“Because the water table is so high you’re under the water all the time. So river water or land water, it’s the same.”

And Mr Graham was not foreseeing any problems with hard rock like the mountains of Italy in Perth’s latest tunnel.

“It is quite difficult but no real hard rock,” he said.

“Maybe too much soft rock, maybe too much soft sand.”

AIRPORT RAIL LINK
Two 8km tunnels
Built to average depth of 15m
Deepest point: 25m under the Swan River

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