Business, Earthmoving News

TBM lowered into Melbourne’s North East Link

Melbourne’s North East Link has seen a tunnel boring machine (TBM) lowered into the ground, to dig the twin road tunnels

Two of the largest TBMs in the southern hemisphere will start digging 6.5km tunnels midway through this year to reduce travel times and take trucks off local roads, the Victorian government announced.

The first pieces of the machine were lowered into the ground at the Watsonia site, by a 550-tonne gantry crane.

When assembled, the Victorian government says the 4,000-tonne TBMs will be 90m long and more than 15m wide.

The TBMs will soon work their way south from Watsonia toward Bulleen, the Victorian government says while crews begin installing tunnel walls. Made of almost 44,000 individual concrete segments, these tunnel walls were manufactured locally in Benalla.

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“This is another significant milestone for North East Link – getting us closer to moving trucks off local roads and slashing travel times across the north-east,” transport infrastructure minister Danny Pearson says.

“We’re getting on with assembling TBMs on site so tunnelling can kick off in the coming months – building the longer 6.5km tunnels the community asked for.”

The Victorian government says barriers and worksites are being set up along the Eastern Freeway and M80 Ring Road, so crews can upgrade the freeways that will connect to the North East Link tunnels – cutting travel times by up to 35 minutes.

The North East Link, the M80 Ring Road Completion and the Eastern Freeway Upgrades are expected to open in 2028.

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