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Arden arches in place

By Zak Wheeler

Unbeknown to most in North Melbourne, an incredible feat of engineering was happening high above their heads as they went about their daily business in November.

The first 60-tonne arches at Arden Station have been carefully hoisted into place with a mammoth 350-tonne crane as part of ongoing construction for Melbourne’s new Metro Tunnel.

The 15 arches are made from precast concrete lined with more than 100,000 bricks, each one laid by hand. They are made up of 45 individual segments, each weighing up to 60 tonnes.

Arden Station will be the first destination for Metro Tunnel passengers travelling west on the Sunbury line and will become a centrepiece in the renewed Arden-Macauley precinct.

The project is expected to include up to 35,000 jobs and be home to around 15,000 residents by 2050, according to the City of Melbourne.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews shared his excitement for the project which will become a landmark of the city’s north and is part of Victoria’s broader “Big Build” initiative.

“It’s wonderful to see Arden Station’s arches taking shape,” he said.

“The Metro Tunnel team has been working around the clock in 2021 despite the challenges of the pandemic.”

“We work towards opening a year ahead of schedule in 2025.”

Construction of Arden Station has followed a “cut and cover” method, which began with the excavation of the station box before any work on the surface-level structures began.

The process began in June with the construction of several support columns and a temporary steel wall which provided further support as the building’s arches were lowered into place via a 350-tonne crane.

“The Arden arches are now in place – as works across our five sites moving forward to deliver a turn up and go train network that will slash times,” Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said.

Upon completion, the Metro Tunnel will open train lines for more than half-a-million additional passengers a week during peak hours in Melbourne’s train network.

Former Lord Mayor of Melbourne and president of the North West Melbourne Association, Kevin Chamberlin hailed the project as “a great development for North Melbourne, West Melbourne and Kensington.”

“It’s great to see the passenger hall component taking shape and the finished structure promises to be very exciting. Our local community will be easily linked to all parts of the Melbourne public transport network. You’ll even be able to catch the fast train to the airport,” he said.

The station will be within walking distance of North Melbourne shops, Arden oval and the No 57 tram line. Green spaces, wide pedestrian paths, drop-off zones, taxi bays and more than 120 bike parking spaces will also be included in the completed community hub area.

The station’s entrance will be located on Laurens St, providing direct access to existing residential, retail, and commercial areas east of the site.

Provision has  been made for an additional entrance in the future at the western end of the station.

The arches of Arden Station were designed to reflect north Melbourne’s rich industrial history, with plans for broader urban renewal throughout the Arden-Macaulay precinct underway •

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