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The Lane Cove Tunnel Collapse

In 2003 the NSW RTA awarded Lane Cove Tunnel Company (LCTC) the contract to plan, design, construct, operate and to maintain the Motorway for a period of 33 years with URS Australia in the role of Independent Verifier (IV). LCTC contracted with the Thiess John Holland Joint Venture (TJH) to plan, design, construct and commission the project works including the tunnels. TJH appointed Parsons Brinkerhoff (PB) to provide design consultancy and construction phase services for the civil infrastructure works and engaged Pells Sullivan Meynink (PSM) to overview construction in relation to geotechnical instrumentation, monitoring, tunnel mapping and support. PB, in turn, appointed Coffey Geosciences (Coffey) to carry out geotechnical investigations and to assist in the design of tunnels and retaining walls.

In July 2004 construction of the Lane Cove Tunnel commenced and in the early hours of Wednesday (about 1:40am) 2nd November 2005 a collapse occurred while the intersection of the Marden Street ventilation tunnel (MC5B) and the exit tunnel to the Pacific Highway (MCAA) was being excavated.

The paper on the lessons to be learned by the collapse of the tunnel and the ensuing Supreme Court litigation before McDougall J on the apportionment of responsibility between the contractor and the consultants by Burman, Kotze and Chan, LCT – a forensic review (2018) 53(4) Australian Geomechanics 21 may be downloaded here.

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