Transport Minister denies delays as a Tunnel Boring Machine stops on Forrestfield-Airport Link

Tunnel boring machine Grace.
Tunnel boring machine Grace.

ONE of the Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) digging for the Forrestfield-Airport Link has stopped, although Transport Minister Rita Saffioti denies there is a delay.

Ms Saffioti said TBM Grace had ceased operation because of “ground disturbances”.

“It was always going to be a challenge through this area because of the different types of formations, so this is precautionary, they are doing the review to see what exactly happened,” she said.

“There have been two ground disturbances so as a result, TBM Grace is waiting to get clearance; also they are doing some maintenance on Grace too so they have taken this opportunity to do some further maintenance.

“It’s a precautionary review… we have brought in some independent experts to make sure everything is ok until we move forward.

“I think it’s minor in respect to the overall project but we want to make sure everything is clear to go forward so they are doing a review about how the TBM was operating in that area and also the ground formation.

“There’s no delay yet because Grace was ahead of schedule… it’s just reviewing what is happening and making sure we are in the clear to keep going.”

A Perth Airport spokeswoman said there was no threat to public or worker safety.

“The temporary suspension will allow for the processes associated with the tunnelling to be independently reviewed and validated,” she said.

“PTA and Perth Airport will work together to progress the review in a timely manner to allow for resumption of tunnelling.”

Premier Mark McGowan said he learned about the issue today and the State Government was doing its best to repair the situation.

“We are not going to take any risks; we are very aware and are all very keen to make sure it is all done safely and any problems are fixed,” he said.

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