Tunnel Boring Machine Vida has broken through on the West Gate Tunnel Project, completing a 2.8 kilometre journey and marking the completion of excavation on the first of two tunnels.
This milestone was reached after 7000 hours of tunnelling and marks a significant step in the project, with TBM Bella to complete a four-kilometre journey in just a few months.
Bella and Vida are currently the two biggest TBMs operating in Australia, and this breakthrough is the largest to ever occur in the southern hemisphere.
The completion of TBM Vida’s journey means that crews can now continue with the next step, including building road deck and installing electrical, lighting and safety systems to prepare the tunnel for completion in 2025.
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The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allen said the project would provide improved connections for motorists.
“This is a huge achievement for the West Gate Tunnel – these giant TBMs have been operating day and night to reach this point, and I want to thank all the crew’s working 24/7 to help deliver this important project,” Allan said.
Once completed, the West Gate Tunnel project will act as an alternative to the West Gate Bridge and will remove more than 9000 trucks from surrounding 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.
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