The first of two 4000-tonne custom built tunnel boring machines, which will dig the North East Link Tunnels, is on a ship making its way to the Port of Melbourne, where each component will then be trucked to site.
As each of the components makes its way to its destination, there will be rolling night-time lane closures on the M80 Ring Road starting from September 2023. There will also be major disruptions on Greensborough Road as these large deliveries take place.
The 15.6m diameter tunnel boring machines will take around six months to assemble on site, with the parts lowered into the ground by a massive a 550-tonne gantry crane. They will then work day and night digging the 6.5km twin tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen – taking traffic under instead of through suburbs.
Major work sites are being established from Watsonia to Bulleen, in preparation for the arrival of these massive machines. A 200m long tunnel launch area is being built on the eastern side of Greensborough Road with a 13m high shed being built to store the concrete segments that will line the tunnel walls.
A large, covered conveyor belt is also starting to take shape, that will transport the dirt from the tunnels across Greensborough Road into a second shed at Winsor Reserve, where it will be safely loaded onto covered trucks. There will be a full overnight closure on Greensborough Road in late September to install the enclosed conveyor across Greensborough Road.
Further south, crews are moving 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. The existing Bulleen Road will stay open until the realigned section is complete later this year.
Tunnelling is on track to begin next year. This video shows how Victoria’s longest twin road tunnels will be built.