Last week marked a proud moment for the hard-working professionals constructing the Sydney Metro Northwest tunnel.

On September 18, Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) 3 called 'Isabelle' reached Epping for the final time – breaking through the end of the line. Isabelle is one of four TBMs which for the last 10 months have drilled two 15​-kilometre (km) tunnels from Bella Vista to Epping. 

Isabelle by the numbers

Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Transport detailed Isabelle's achievements over her journey on the Sydney Metro Northwest project.

"During her journey, Isabelle dug the deepest section of the new railway tunnels, 58 metres below Thompson's Corner at West Pennant Hills," he said in a media statement.

"She's been busy digging underground for 10 months, and today Isabelle finally saw daylight again."

The team behind Isabelle have done a fantastic job getting the TBM to this point. In light of this, Transport for NSW released a number of statistics that highlight the gravity of Isabelle's achievements.

Isabelle excavated over 500,000 tonnes of sandstone and shale, while also installing more than 20,000 individual concrete segments that line the rail tunnel. The furthest Isabelle tunnelled in one day was 80m on June 30.

Wider achievements of the tunnel project

According to official estimates, the entire tunnelling project is more than 75 per cent completed. In terms of distance, the remaining three TBMs have around 8km to go, having completed a remarkable 22km in a short period of time.

"Sydney Metro Northwest is setting a cracking pace, this is a major milestone considering tunnelling only started a year ago and this particular tunnel boring machine only started work late last year," Mr Constance stated.

What happens now?

According to Epping State Liberal MP Damien Tudehope​, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, work is far from completed for the tunnel professional operating Isabelle. At the Epping work site, the team will dismantle and remove Isabelle​, which could take as long as two months. 

Hopefully, Isabelle's dismantling and removal will coincide with the second TBM to finish. 'Maria' is close to completing her journey and will be the next to be shut down.

Bluey are a proud supplier and supporter of the Sydney Metro Northwest tunnel and are actively ensuring this project is completed well. We understand the necessity of this civil engineering venture and look forward to bringing you more updates over the coming weeks and months.

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