The main launch site is taking shape for the two massive tunnel boring machines that will help dig the 6.5-kilometre tunnels and fix the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network.
With the compound site now ready, crews will start to realign a 300-metre section of Greensborough Road between Wattle Drive and Watsonia Road in the coming weeks. This will create space to build the TBM launch box while keeping traffic moving alongside the tunnel construction work.
Work will also start to prepare nearby Winsor Reserve, where a large acoustic shed will be built to support the tunnel boring machines. The shed will help contain noise, dust and lightspill and excavated dirt will be safely loaded onto covered trucks inside the shed and securely carried off-site.
“North East Link is more than just Victoria’s biggest road project – it’s the biggest-ever investment in Melbourne’s North East, getting trucks off local roads and slashing travel times,” says Acting Premier Jacinta Allan.
From August, crews will set up work compounds along Greensborough Road and Bulleen Road to get ready to build the ramps and tunnel entrances, the new tree-lined boulevard along Greensborough Road and tunnel ventilation.
The significant increase in construction activity will include the removal of trees and vegetation within the project boundary in line with the project’s extensive environmental approvals. As many trees as possible will be kept – including avoiding the much-loved Bulleen River Red Gum – and more than 30,000 trees will be planted.
For every tree removed to build North East Link, at least two will be planted as part of the most extensive tree planting program for a major road project in Victoria.
As construction ramps up, community groups are also set to benefit from a new fund to support local projects as North East Link is built. The $10 million North East Community Fund will support projects big and small, bringing lasting community benefits to areas most impacted by construction.
Grants of up to $100,000 will be available for projects such as tree planting, community festivals, new equipment for local sporting clubs, and community centre upgrades. Community partnerships over $100,000 will be considered for larger community projects. This builds on $68 million already invested in community sports facilities across the northeast.
Applications for the first round of funding are open until 21 August, with funding rounds each year during construction. North East Link will fix the missing link in our freeway network, overhaul the Eastern Freeway, build Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, complete the Ring Road and build a North East Trail with more than 34 kilometres of walking and cycling paths.
As part of Victoria’s Big Build, we’re investing more than $20 billion in roads and rail infrastructure in Melbourne’s northeast.
The North East Link, Suburban Rail Loop North, Hurstbridge Line Duplication, Metro Tunnel and upgrades to local roads will significantly improve the way Victorians travel by easing congestion and improving safety and reliability.
We’re removing 13 level crossings in the northeast, with 11 already gone on the Upfield and Mernda lines, including the dangerous and congested Bell Street crossings in Coburg and Preston, which once frustrated up to 52,000 drivers each day.
We’ve also got upgrades underway on more than 440 spaces at train station car parks across Merlynston, Eltham and Wattle Glen stations as part of 14,000 new and upgraded parking spaces delivered at stations across the state since 2014, a shared use path between Greensborough and Montmorency is now underway.
The Australian and Victorian governments jointly fund North East Link.
Source: Victoria State Government
Image Source: © 2022, State Government of Victoria, Australia
Tunnelling powers ahead to construct the 23km Western Sydney Airport metro alignment in Greater Western Sydney.
The male-dominated construction industry in Australia and New Zealand has high rates of mental health issues and suicide.