The ship carrying the first of two massive tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig the North East Link Tunnels is set to arrive in Melbourne soon, as work ramps up on the Andrews Labor Government’s project that will take thousands of trucks off local roads and slash travel times for communities in the north-east.
The parts of the 4000-tonne, 15.6-metre diameter TBM will travel from the Port of Melbourne with rolling night-time lane closures on the M80 Ring Road and major disruptions on Greensborough Road starting from September.
The TBMs will take around six months to assemble on site and will be lowered into the ground by a massive a 550-tonne gantry crane where from mid-next year, they will work day and night digging the 6.5-kilometre twin tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen that will take traffic and trucks under, instead of through, suburbs.
Across the north-east major work sites are being set up to prepare for the arrival of TBMs, inluding a 200-metre long tunnel launch area being built on the eastern side of Greensborough Road with a 13-metre high shed being built to store the concrete segments to line the tunnel walls.
There will be a full overnight closure on Greensborough Road in late September to install an enclosed conveyor across Greensborough Road, which will transport dirt and rock from tunnelling work.
Further south, crews are moving Bulleen Road further west, to make space to build the new Yarra Link green bridge over Bulleen Road – which will link Koonung Creek Trail to Bulleen Park for the first time. The existing Bulleen Road will stay open until the realigned section is complete in late 2023.
Intermittent lane closures on Manningham Road, Bulleen Road, Templestowe Road, and Bridge Street are continuing and buses will replace trains on sections of the Hurstbridge line for three weeks in December as well as intermittent weekend closures on some weekends while crews upgrade tracks, signalling and equipment.
More than 10 million hours have now been worked on North East Link, with more than 10,000 jobs to be created across the massive construction program.
North East Link will be complete in 2028, slashing travel times by up to 35 minutesand taking 15,000 trucks off local roads. The huge investment in Melbourne's north east also includes the Hurstbridge Line Duplication, Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade and removing 21 level crossings.
North East Link is jointly funded by the Andrews and Albanese Labor Governments.
Quote attributable to Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allan
“We’re getting on with a massive amount of work to prepare for the arrival of the TBMs, getting us another step closer to moving traffic and trucks below ground - giving local roads back to local people and slashing travel times across the north east.
Quote attributable to Member for Ivanhoe Anthony Carbines
“We’re working hard to minimise impacts to the local community as we build North East Link. The shed at Winsor reserve will mean less noise and dust during construction for local residents as we deliver Victoria’s biggest road project.”
Reviewed 21 August 2023