Tunnel boring machine on its way to Melbourne

Two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) – 90 metres long, 15.6 metres in diameter and weighing 4000 tonnes each, have been selected to build Melbourne’s $6.7 billion West Gate TunnelMelbourne is set to receive the first of two tunnel boring machines (TBM), which will begin work on the West Gate Tunnel by early 2019.

The TBMs are 90 metres long and weigh up to 4000 tonnes each, standing at around 15.6 metres in diameter – as tall as Flinders Street Station’s dome.

This will be the first time a full scale TBM will have been used in Victoria and will be assembled by some of the largest gantry cranes built in Australia, with a lifting capacity of up to 500 tonnes.

A steel frame is being erected for the 90 by 180 metre spoil shed at the Yarraville tunnelling hub site. This shed will process the thousands of tonnes of excavated dirt and rock during construction.

A covered conveyor will move the spoil from the tunnel to the spoil shed, where it will be safely loaded onto covered trucks inside the shed.

The West Gate Tunnel Project aims to provide an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, reduce travel times and take trucks off local roads.

Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the TBMs will be working 24/7 to dig the tunnels that will provide an alternative to the West Gate Bridge.

Victorian Member for Footscray Katie Hall said, “This shed will mean less noise and less dust during construction for local residents – we’ll do whatever we can to limit the disruption to locals while this urgently needed project is being built.”

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