Sydney Light Rail Water Main Relocations

Posted 11 December 2017

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UEA’s civil crews have been working both night and day shifts since May 2017, undertaking the relocation of Sydney Water assets under its W3 & S2 accreditation. The contract has required UEA to perform detailed excavation works in some of the oldest and most congested roadways in the city of Sydney, including George Street & Eddy Avenue, which run parallel to Central Station.

Interestingly, the origins of George Street lie in the layout of the Sydney Cove colony. Captain Arthur Phillip placed the convicts and marines on the rocky western slopes of the bay – a track leading from the convicts’ encampment in the area of The Rocks, past the marine barracks and alongside the banks of a stream to a brick pit, located near the present location of Central Station. This track that eventually became George Street is one of the two original thoroughfares, along with the track that became Bridge Street.

The existing water pipes – which were required to be lowered where they would impact the new tram construction – were progressively installed and cut over in line with the detailed programme, working closely with the Acciona construction team and Sydney Water network operations.

The construction of the $2.5 billion CBD and East Sydney Light Rail has required the largest relocation of utilities ever undertaken in Australia. Excavation works required for the new Sydney Water assets has been very challenging due to the need to work around existing utilities, redundant tram track infrastructure, tree roots and sandstone. Many of the unknown cable and pipes that are discovered are not shown on any dial before you dig plans, but the same positive identification excavation permit process is followed to prevent incident.