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Eastern Deviation

SERVICES USED: Project services, Studies and project management

5.16 Eastern Deviation -cropped

Client/Asset owner: Rio Tinto
Location: Pilbara, WA
Duration: May 2012 – Jan 2013

As part of Rio Tinto’s Rail Capacity Enhancement Project the ‘Eastern Deviation alternative’ was developed in parallel to the baseline central corridor expansion.  The Eastern Deviation involved a nominal 11km section of new dual track (the purpose being to relocate the central corridor off the MCC iron ore tenement) which was effectively ‘sterilised’ as a result of the incumbent and proposed new rail infrastructure.

The project was particularly complex on the basis of previous engineering study solutions being capital and schedule intensive, primarily as a consequence of a significant volume of earthworks (> 1,000,000m3) of which the majority was in rock, in addition to major impacts to existing utilities/infrastructure.

The key scope of work elements included:

  • Rail horizontal and vertical geometry, including dual track and modifications to existing track
  • Earthworks and drainage design including access road and intersection design
  • Tunnelling design
  • Signalling and communications
  • Significant stakeholder management (~ 25 entities)
  • Estimating
  • Planning
  • Approvals

The project also involved an investigation into tunnelling options to mitigate the extent of earthworks, which was a first for Rio Tinto.  The engineering was sufficiently developed to prove the viability of the tunnelling option and associated cost effectiveness. However, this option was not carried through as a result of a new alignment solution being developed which significantly reduced the quantum of earthworks and the extent of which was in rock.

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