SA Water has announced that more than half of the expected 7km of new water main has been laid for the Murraylands water network upgrade, marking a major milestone for the project.
During the past two months, crews have been working through sections of Monarto Safari Park to lay new pipes to duplicate four existing water mains – increasing the capacity of the region’s water supply network.
Reaching this milestone has culminated in the rare task of installing a section of one of the pipes underneath the Melbourne to Adelaide rail corridor, with specialised drilling equipment required to bore beneath the track.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of Capital Delivery, Peter Seltsikas, said a different pipe material will be used under the railway track to help preserve the structural integrity of the main, and protect surrounding infrastructure.
“To reach this stage of the upgrade, we’ve been working closely with the Australian Rail Track Corporation to safely facilitate crews using heavy machinery either side of the corridor as they install the new pipe,” Mr Seltsikas said.
“Our crews have been operating a horizontal directional drill to bore a 60m long tunnel under the track for the pipe to be pulled through via a trench on the other side at the fringes of Monarto Safari Park, where they’re currently wrapping up the final section within the park.
“Rather than lay PVC pipes like we’re using elsewhere for the project, we’re using high-density poly pipes, due to their increased flexibility to withstand ground movement and their ability to be welded together and pulled through the tunnel.
Mr Seltsikas said that this is particularly beneficial given the greater potential impact a leak on this section of pipe may have, given the importance of the rail infrastructure.
“To provide more protection, we will encase it in a slightly larger pipe to help prevent any damage to the track in the event of a leak.
“Based on the land’s topography, the pipe will sit at a maximum depth of 5m below the raised track before it connects into PVC pipes, as the alignment travels south and reaches Old Princes Highway.
“Crews have taken advantage of the drier winter conditions and made wonderful progress over the past eight weeks, even making a few friends with Monarto Safari Park’s giraffes who love to have a stickybeak from their paddock and have taken it upon themselves to become extra site supervisors!”
The project also includes an upgrade to SA Water’s pump station in nearby White Hill to support the increased flow of water, along with construction of a new booster pump station at Monarto.
“Designs for this work are well underway, with construction expected to commence in early 2024 once we’ve completed laying our new pipes.”
Featured image: High-density poly pipes on the Monarto Safari Park work site. Image credit: SA Water.