West Gate Tunnel Boring Machine’s Final Journey

18 September 2023

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Vida’s mission on the Andrews Labor Government’s West Gate Tunnel project is complete as the major parts return to its manufacturer in Germany, in another significant milestone for the project that will take thousands of trucks off local roads and slash travel times in the west.

The 240-tonne main drive was loaded onto a truck for the 4.1-kilometre super load journey from Whitehall Street to Appleton Dock for the 45-minute drive, with the truck moving at speeds of between five and 40 km/h.

TBM Vida broke through in February in Yarraville, completing a 2.8-kilometre journey from the west side of the Maribyrnong River under Yarraville to Williamstown Road near the West Gate Freeway.

TBM Vida spent 11 months operating 24/7, excavating over 1,000,000 tonnes of rock and soil while installing more than 10,000 individual concrete segments.

Construction of the road deck of the twin tunnels is now over 90% complete as crews continue the important work of fitting out the electrical, lighting and safety systems to prepare the tunnel for completion in 2025.

When complete, the West Gate Tunnel Project will transform travel in Melbourne’s west. It will deliver a vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge, providing a much needed second river crossing, and removing more than 9,000 trucks from residential streets.

Journeys will be safer and more reliable with travel times between Melbourne’s west and the city slashed by up to 20 minutes.

There will also be 14 kilometres of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths, and close to nine hectares of new parks and wetlands.

The departure comes as the first parts of the TBMs that will dig the North East Link tunnels have completed their journey by sea to the Port of Melbourne and have been transported to their new home in Watsonia.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allan

“This is another significant milestone for the West Gate Tunnel as we bid farewell to TBM Vida – the massive machine operated day and night to complete the tunnelling, and I want to thank all the crew’s working 24/7 to help deliver this important project.”

“The West Gate Tunnel will transform travel in Melbourne’s west – providing an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, slashing travel times and taking thousands of trucks off local roads.”

Reviewed 18 September 2023

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