Preparations for tunneling ramp up at North East Link


North East Link,


The final piece of the TBM – a 137-tonne screw conveyor – has arrived at the Watsonia site to help dig the 6.5 kilometre road tunnels that will help take 15,000 trucks off local roads.

A 550-tonne gantry crane has started lowering each TBM piece into the launch box and when assembled, each 4000-tonne tunnel boring machine will stretch 90 metres long and 15.6 metres high.

Once up and running, the TBMs will dig up to 15 metres per day as they travel from Watsonia to Bulleen – passing deep underneath traffic instead of through local suburbs.

More than 100 tunnel workers are currently undergoing intensive training to work up to 45 metres below ground level, with a hyperbaric facility currently being installed on site so workers can prepare to work under a compressed air environment.

Project Spotlight: North East Link Tunnel – Melbourne

Across Melbourne’s north-east, a huge amount of work is underway to get ready for tunnelling – a covered conveyer belt and shed are in place to safely load dirt and rock onto trucks, more than a quarter of the concrete tunnel segments have been built in Benalla, and the TBM retrieval box is taking shape in Bulleen.

Worksites are being set up along the Eastern Freeway and M80 Ring Road, with large areas of open space needed to upgrade the freeways to connect with the North East Link tunnels – cutting travel times by up to 35 minutes.

Speed restrictions and barriers have already been rolled out along the Eastern Freeway between Burke and Bulleen roads and these will extend to Tram Road in the coming months.

More than 5,000 workers are already working across North East Link, the Eastern Freeway Upgrade and M80 Ring Road completion – with 12,000 jobs to be created over the life of the projects before completion in 2028.

TBMs are traditionally given female names before they get to work underground, a custom dating back to the 1500s.

Entries will be assessed on the creativity of the submission and the unique characteristics of the local legend nominated.

The two winning submissions will see their local legend’s name up close and personal on the biggest TBMs in Victoria, with an exclusive opportunity to visit the machines before they’re launched this year.

Visit the online form to nominate a woman who has dug deep in the north east community.

Entries close at 11:59pm Sunday 19 May.
T&Cs apply.

TBMs used for other Victoria’s Big Build projects were named after these ground-breaking Victorian women:

  • Joan Kirner – First female Premier of Victoria (Metro Tunnel Project)
  • Alice Appleford – Australian nurse who served in both World Wars (Metro Tunnel Project)
  • Millie Peacock – First woman elected to the Parliament of Victoria (Metro Tunnel Project)
  • Meg Lanning – Captain of the Australian women’s cricket team (Metro Tunnel Project)
  • Vida Goldstein – Campaigner for women’s voting and electoral rights (West Gate Tunnel Project)
  • Bella Guerin – First woman to graduate from a university in Australia (West Gate Tunnel Project)

Source: © Copyright, Commonwealth of Australia

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