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WestConnex develops dual training cab for roadheaders

With the NorthConnex project in full swing and WestConnex’s M4 East and new M5 set to begin soon, Sydney’s roadheader operators will be in high demand to dig the extensive tunnels needed.

To ensure this demand can be met, the M4 East joint venture — consisting of CPB Contractors Samsung and John Holland (CPBSJH) — has developed an Australian first for operator training.

Of the 18 roadheaders set to work on the M4 East tunnel, 13 are being fitted with new dual-operator cabs. The Australian-made cabins are 50 percent larger than standard and ensure that operators can be trained without work stopping.

Around 40 roadheader operators will be needed to keep tunnelling moving 24/7 throughout the project. The M4 East joint venture says half of these will need some form of training.

“With tunnelling for the M4 East coinciding with other tunnelling projects in Sydney, and a shift in demand from mining to infrastructure, it’s vital that we have the skilled operators required to meet our construction timeline,” CPBSJH plant manager Mark McLean says.

“While it hasn’t been done before, modifying the cabins for training meant we could also consider other innovations in design, which will lead to five star conditions for roadheader operators using these machines,” McLean says.

“The cabins will feature improved visibility, increased structural integrity, a significant reduction in noise and vibration, as well as fully ergonomic seat adjustments.”

CPBSHJ says the chance to upskill to a roadheader operator is open to machinery operators from other industries, particularly those from the mining industry, and will open up long term opportunities to work on the myriad tunnelling projects across the city.

 “The M4 East is the first tunnel section of WestConnex, to be followed by the New M5 and M4-M5 Link,” project director Terry Chapman says.

 “In addition, as part of the government’s integrated transport program, plans are progressing for Sydney Metro, including a new rail tunnel harbour crossing, in addition to the proposed Western Harbour Tunnel, which will eventually connect to WestConnex and provide a much needed second road crossing of the harbour,” he says.

“On-the-job training now will provide skill development for future employment opportunities -stemming from these critical infrastructure projects.”


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