News, Road upgrades, Victoria

Victoria’s longest road tunnels taking shape

Work on the North East Link tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen is progressing, with the on and off ramps at the Manningham interchange now being built.

The 6.5 kilometre road tunnels are expected to take approximately 14,700 cars and trucks off Bulleen Road every day.

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allan visited Bulleen today to view the progress.

“The North East Link is more than just Victoria’s biggest road project – it’s an investment in communities in Melbourne’s north east, getting trucks off local roads and slashing travel times,” said Allan.

A 450 tonne crane is currently being used to build structural walls known as ‘diaphragm walls’ to allow excavation of the ramps and a tunnel boring machine retrieval box.

Crews are also starting to make some changes to move 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.

The design of the Manningham Road interchange includes a ramp layout that avoids the historic River Red Gum on Bridge Street and allows Bulleen Art & Garden to stay open.

Across the project, the tunnel boring machine launch area is under construction in Watsonia, two massive storage sheds are taking shape on both sides of Greensborough Road, and workers in Yallambie are preparing to build the ramps and tunnels for the new Lower Plenty Road interchange.

Tunnelling of the 6.5km tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen will start next year, with the massive tunnel boring machines to arrive from overseas by the end of this year.

Then begins the task of assembling the 4000 tonne machines, which measure 15.6 metres wide.

As work ramps up, there are already more than 4600 workers across North East Link as part of 10,000 jobs the project is creating.

On the tunnels alone, more than 900 roles will be dedicated to people experiencing barriers to employment.

North East Link will be complete in 2028, slashing travel times by up to 35 minutes, and taking 15,000 trucks off local roads.

The massive investment in Melbourne’s north east also includes completing the M80 Ring Road and upgrading the Eastern Freeway, alongside the Hurstbridge Line Upgrade, Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade and removing 21 level crossings.

North East Link is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend