Building The Metro Tunnel And Protecting Flinders Street

Works are ramping up at Federation Square on Victoria’s largest public transport project, as upgrades across the road to protect the iconic Flinders St Station continue, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.

Part of Flinders Street will be reduced by one traffic lane for many years from next month as the Metro Tunnel starts major construction to build a station entrance on the doorstep of Melbourne’s iconic Federation Square.

Two hundred metres of temporary fencing has been installed around the site and two ramps providing disability access around the worksite are being built, after a permit exemption was granted by Heritage Victoria.

In October, Flinders Street next to Federation Square will be reduced by one traffic lane westbound between Russell and Swanston streets for up to four years. Drivers will still have one left-turning lane from Flinders Street into St Kilda Road, and one lane travelling towards Elizabeth Street. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and allow extra time through this part of Flinders Street.

Pedestrian and bicycle access will be maintained around the intersection and to Federation Square’s businesses and dining spots. The former Melbourne Visitor Centre will be demolished later this year and a massive acoustic shed will be built allowing 24/7 excavation and station construction next year, after receiving relevant approvals.

A state-wide competition to name Victoria’s six gigantic TBMs that will begin digging the Metro Tunnel and West Gate Tunnel early next year is underway.

More than 500 name suggestions have been received since the competition launched last week, with inspiring Victorians Susan Alberti, Rosie Batty, Kylie Minogue and Dame Nellie Melba proving popular. The public is being asked to submit female names as tunnelling tradition dictates a TBM cannot start work until it has been named after a woman – a symbol of good luck for the project and its underground workers.

Six competition winners will be invited onto a Metro Tunnel or West Gate Tunnel construction site next year to watch as the TBM they named is assembled. Submissions can be made online via bigbuild.vic.gov.au.

Across the road at the Metro Tunnel’s archaeology site on the corner of Swanston and Flinders street behind the Young and Jackson Hotel, public tours are underway. More than half a million artefacts, some dating back more than 180 years to early days of European settlement in Melbourne have been found.

At Flinders Street station, upgrades to the historic subways are underway to improve the passenger flow and experience at Victoria’s historic station. The works are delivering a heritage facelift, with cleaning and restoration of the historic tiles and replacement of some with coloured tiles made using traditional techniques.

The Subways will be finished at the end of this year and the main entrance hall behind the clocks is being repainted and refurbished with work scheduled to finish in late October this year.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“We’re upgrading our historic station and transforming Melbourne’s rail network and building a Metro Tunnel station entrance on the doorstep of some of the city’s biggest tourist destinations.” 

“A project of this scale will cause some disruptions, but it will get thousands of people to and from the suburbs quicker and easier each day.”