A new “mini” Tunnel Boring Machine has arrived on site at the Andrews Labor Government’s West Gate Tunnel project ahead of a major construction blitz.
From Sunday there will be five nights of full closures on the West Gate Freeway as workers remove overhead gantries and light poles as they begin construction of two new lanes in each direction on the freeway.
Drivers will need to follow signposted detours with the Freeway closed nightly from Sunday 15 to Thursday 19 July between 10pm and 5am.
Acting Premier James Merlino and Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan visited the West Gate Tunnel’s tunnelling hub site in Yarraville today to inspect the new ‘mini’ tunnel boring machine (TBM).
The mini TBM will dig a new section of the North Yarra Main Sewer with 600 metres of the 100 year old sewer being diverted to make way for the new road tunnels that will connect the West Gate Freeway to the port, CityLink and city.
Once it’s launched, the mini TBM is expected to move 12 metres a day and excavate approximately 9000 cubic metres of dirt over the next year to build the new section of sewer.
At three metres in diameter, the mini TBM is one fifth the size of the massive TBMs that will dig the West Gate Tunnel Project’s twin road tunnels.
Starting in the coming weeks, Whitehall Street, Yarraville, will be closed to northbound traffic between Leek Street and Somerville Road for approximately 12 months as the sewer diversion works take place.
Signage on the West Gate Freeway, Whitehall Street, and local roads will alert motorists to temporary detours and speed limit changes during the closures.
More than 1500 people are already working on the West Gate Tunnel Project, with the workforce to grow to 6000 at peak construction.
Quotes attributable to Acting Premier James Merlino
“We’re delivering this urgently needed project to give drivers an alternative to the West Gate Bridge – with more than 1500 people are already working on the project, we’re getting on with the job”
“While every effort has been made to reduce disruptions, drivers should be aware that these overnight closures may add extra time to their journey, so please plan ahead.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan:
“It may be small, but this mini TBM will excavate 9000 cubic metres of soil and rock over the next 12 months to ensure a critical piece of underground infrastructure isn’t disrupted while we build the West Gate Tunnel.”
“Others talk about these kinds of projects, but only the Andrews Labor Government is getting on and delivering the transport infrastructure Victorians need.”