Snowy 2.0 Forges Ahead

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PORTAL: The site of the main access portal where the 2.7km tunnel will be drilled to access the underground power station cavern. PHOTO: Courtesy of Snowy Hydro.

THE Snowy 2.0 project is entering an exciting phase of its overall construction. With all the authority regulatory approvals in place, including the recent federal sign off by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in June, workers are now eager to commencing tunnelling.

In Cooma the concrete segment factory is currently under construction which will create concrete segments to line the tunnels. Roadworks between Cooma and Kiandra have been upgraded to accommodate the vast convoy of vehicles expected in coming years and large machinery has begun its transportation from the docks to the worksite at Lobs Hole.
Once the first of three tunnel boring machines (TBM) is delivered it will be re-assembled and commence boring of the main access tunnel, a 2.7km long tunnel down to the underground power station cavern.

The TBM is overall 137m long, the actual head alone is 11 metres in diameter. As material is excavated, it is then immediately removed via the conveyor belt and trucked away as the machine forges deeper into its own tunnel. A water treatment plant is also being constructed to treat water used by the TBM in operation and allow it to be recycled. In recent months a cradle has been constructed to house the first TBM at the main access tunnel entrance.

Components of the second and third TBMs that will eventually bore the tunnels from Talbingo Reservoir and Tantangara Resevoir respectively will arrive by year’s end. During the project over 40km’s of tunnel will be excavated by these huge machines.

To coincide with the TBM arrivals Snowy Hydro have three scale models on display, one at their Sydney head office, Cooma office and one for public viewing at the Cooma Discovery Centre.

As the project ramps up more jobs will be created with the Future Generation Joint Venture and orkers will eventually be housed on site via a large accommodation setup.
Currently workers are based around the Adaminaby area in various accommodation which has been a huge welcome and boost to the local economy. With Selwyn Snow Resort destroyed in the January bushfires, the Snowy 2.0 project has kept the small town of Adaminaby alive, as winter visitation was minimal for snow tourists.

To deliver power to the TBMs, worker accommodation camps and other construction activities at Lobs Hole and Tantangara, an onsite electricity substation is being built. Two large transformers have been delivered, each weighing approximately 85 tonnes each, and were transported through the mountains on trailers with prime movers at each end.
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