The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Tuesday, 19 June 2018 01:00

Melbourne's TBMs almost ready to advance

Melbourne's massive TBM Melbourne's massive TBM.

The biggest tunnel boring machines (TBMs) in the southern hemisphere are on track to arrive in Melbourne on time in early 2019 to build the West Gate Tunnel and Metro Tunnel. 

The $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel Project will upgrade the West Gate Freeway and link it to the city and CityLink, with a new tunnel under Yarraville and bridges over the Maribyrnong River. It will be used to build Melbourne's vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge and take trucks off residential streets in the inner west and put them underground. 

After taking 12 months to build and test, construction on the project will launch in early 2019, starting at the site of the northern tunnel portal in Footscray, where the first TBM will begin advancing. The custom-built Herrenknecht's TBMs have taken 12 months to build and test, and include offices, kitchens and bathrooms to support crews of up to 14 people. The size of the TBMs is staggering. The West Gate Tunnel machines will weigh about 4,000 tons each, stand 15.6 m. in diameter and 90 m. in length. Two of the machines will be launched from 20m deep shafts at Arden and the other two from Domain to drive tunnels towards Kensington and South Yarra at depths of up to 40m below ground level. The TBMs will then be recovered, dismantled and transported back to the start point to complete drives towards the city. They will churn day and night for nearly two years, at a rate of around 9 m. per day, until they emerge at the West Gate Freeway in Melbourne's inner west.

People will have the capability of following their progress deep under Melbourne over the coming years. The Metro Tunnel will transform Melbourne's public transport network, creating a new end-to-end rail line from Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham and delivering five new underground stations.


Read 550 times Last modified on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 15:51


Tunnel boring machines on the way to Melbourne

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