Collapse of a tunnel on the Snowy Hydro 2.0 has stopped work on the scheme already beset with a series of project delays, cost blow-outs and contractor issues for its new CEO to handle.
Snowy Hydro 2.0 has confirmed that boring of its 27 km of tunnels from Tantangara Reservoir to Talbingo Reservoir has been halted with 143-metre TBM Florence (pictured) now sitting idle. The scheme’s COO, Roger Whitby, has told a Senate Estimates committee that a 50-70 metre hole has opened up in a tunnel, according to The Guardian.
The news outlet also reported that the facility producing the project’s precast concrete segments were being stockpiled and running out of room. At August last year, 36,000 of the seven-tonne segments had been produced at the facility out of the 130,000 that would be required to line the main access tunnel and emergency, cable and ventilation tunnel. Around 120 people work at the Cooma facility whose precast concrete segments provide durability under extreme fire loads of 1350 degrees Celsius for 120 minutes.
Snowy Hydro, with its 2100-strong workforce, has a brand new CEO Dennis Barnes who only took the reins on 1 February following the main contractor Clough going into administration in December and the sudden resignation of former CEO Paul Broad in August 2022 after a decade.
Last week it was confirmed that Clough’s parent company, Webuild (formerly Salini Impreglio) has acquired all its subsidiary’s assets, guaranteeing continuity for its Australian projects and 3000-strong workforce as well as payment for subcontractors and suppliers. Webuild now has a backlog of work totalling $18.5 billion and sits among Australia’s largest construction contractors.
Image: Snowy Hydro’s TBM Florence.