Tunneling All Systems Go On The Metro Tunnel

All four of the Metro Tunnel’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are now digging the project’s twin tunnels across Melbourne, with the launch of TBM Meg from the Arden site in North Melbourne.

It’s a big milestone for the Metro Tunnel project, where work is continuing at all sites in accordance with strict safety measures – supporting jobs and supply businesses across the state through the coronavirus pandemic.

Each of the four TBMs are named after prominent Victorian women – Victoria’s first female Premier Joan Kirner,  Australian women’s cricket captain Meg Lanning, Victoria’s first female Member of Parliament Lady Millie Peacock, and medical hero Alice Appleford.

TBMs Joan and Meg were the first to launch, in 2019, and completed the 1.2 kilometre stretch of twin tunnels from Arden to the western tunnel entrance in Kensington earlier this year.

Pieces from the 1,000-tonne TBMs were returned to Arden Station by trucks with the rest of the TBMs pulled back through the tunnels and reassembled.

TBM Joan was relaunched in May from Arden towards the site of Parkville Station and TBM Meg, after all essential checks were completed, was relaunched last week.

TBM Millie was launched in April and is digging the first tunnel between Anzac Station and the Metro Tunnel’s eastern entrance at South Yarra. TBM Alice was launched in May to begin creating the parallel tunnel.

This is in addition to the significant progress made across the entire project. At Parkville Station, excavation of the station box Grattan Street is now complete, while at State Library Station 50 steel columns are being installed.

The Metro Tunnel is on track to be completed by 2025 – a year ahead of schedule. It will allow more trains to run to the suburbs and reduce travel times by running the busy Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines through a new tunnel under the CBD.

Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews

 “We’re making significant progress on this landmark project – with all four tunnel boring machines in the ground.”

“Big construction projects like the Metro Tunnel are more important than ever as we rebuild from the pandemic –kickstarting our economy and supporting thousands of jobs.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan

“The team have worked around-the-clock to get the four tunnel boring machines underway, while observing social distancing and keeping workers safe.”

“Whether it’s level crossing removals, upgrading local roads and regional rail lines or getting on with the North East Link – we’re getting it done.”