A significant achievement has been reached on a major infrastructure project, as the tunnel boring process has been successfully completed for the construction of twin tunnels. This project aims to alleviate the heavy traffic on the congested West Gate Bridge by providing an alternative route.
The tunnel boring machine named Bella has made a breakthrough in South Kingsville, completing an impressive 4-kilometre journey starting from the west side of the Maribyrnong River under Yarraville and ending just east of Millers Road near the West Gate Freeway.
Throughout a period of 15 months, TBM Bella has been operational non-stop, excavating a substantial amount of soil equivalent to filling the MCG stadium. Additionally, more than 15,000 individual concrete segments have been installed to form the tunnel walls.
This significant milestone follows the completion of the journey by TBM Vida, representing the largest tunnel breakthrough in the southern hemisphere. The enormous tunnel boring machine will now be disassembled and removed gradually, with the 450-tonne cutterhead being buried on-site, and other components either recycled or returned to the manufacturer.
The construction teams will now focus on the essential tasks of building the road deck and installing electrical, lighting, and safety systems in order to finalize both tunnels by 2025. Simultaneously, above-ground activities are underway to construct the ventilation system at the exit point and prepare for the installation of the distinctive eel net structure.
Once finished, the West Gate Tunnel Project will bring about a significant transformation in travel within Melbourne’s west. It will serve as a crucial alternative to the West Gate Bridge, offering a second river crossing and eliminating the need for over 9,000 trucks to pass through residential streets.
This project will greatly enhance the safety and reliability of journeys, reducing travel times between Melbourne’s west and the city by up to 20 minutes. Additionally, approximately 14 kilometres of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths will be created, along with nearly 9 hectares of new parks and wetlands.