West Gate tunnelling works complete
Motorists are one step closer to having their travel time slashed from Melbourne’s west, as a major breakthrough was reached on the West Gate Tunnel Project in May.
Tunnel boring has now been completed on the two twin tunnels designed to make travel more efficient and safer for road users, providing a much-needed alternative to the West Gate Bridge.
Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), Bella, operated 24/7 during the past 15 months to excavate the four-kilometre-long outbound tunnel.
The TBM excavated enough soil to fill the MCG and will now be dismantled piece by piece and recycled or returned to the manufacturer, with the 450-tonne cutterhead buried onsite.
The largest tunnel breakthrough in the Southern Hemisphere occurred after TBM Vida completed her journey in February.
“This is a significant breakthrough … in just a few years’ time, thousands of Victorians will travel through this tunnel each day, transforming Melbourne’s west,” Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said.
The government said works were continuing to ensure the safety of road users, including the construction of road deck and electrical, lighting and safety systems.
The tunnels are due for completion in 2025 and will remove more than 9000 trucks per day from residential streets.
“The West Gate Tunnel Project will slash travel times, take thousands of trucks off local roads, and get families home sooner and safer,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
The project will cut travel times between Melbourne’s west and the city by up to 20 minutes.
Eel net structures under construction on the tunnels entries and exits celebrate Melbourne West’s Aboriginal Heritage.
Fourteen kilometres of walking and cycling paths, and almost nine hectares of parks and wetlands will be established from the project.