A massive shed that will be at the heart of activity for building the Andrews Labor Government’s West Gate Tunnel is complete, as the project gets ready for tunnelling to start soon.
The shed will make sure noise and dust is kept to a minimum for nearby residents and businesses while 1.5 million cubic metres of rock and soil is excavated to build Melbourne’s alternative to the West Gate Bridge.
Over 12,000 work hours have gone into building the shed, which is 180 metres long and 90 metres wide, and bigger than the Altona Bunnings.
It will be connected to the tunnel by a conveyer system that will be 15 kilometres long by the time tunnelling comes to an end.
The West Gate Tunnels second TBM Vida has now arrived in Melbourne. Footscray Road was closed on Tuesday night while the largest piece was delivered to the northern portal site on Whitehall Street. Both TBMs are now being assembled with Bella to launch mid-year and Vida to follow afterwards.
Rock and soil will be taken from underground on the conveyer to the launch site for the tunnel boring machines, over the top of Somerville Road on covered conveyer, and then into giant bins before being trucked away.
The conveyers will move at 12.6 kilometres per hour and at the peak of activity will move 9000 tonnes of rock and soil a day.
The shed and conveyer belt over the road are an essential part of keeping traffic moving and reducing noise and dust for the community while this essential project is underway.
Tunnelling will happen around the clock to build the twin tunnels that will be 2.8 and four kilometres in length.
Over 3,500 people are currently working on the project with most of the major work sites established.
The West Gate Tunnel will cut travel times from the west by up to 20 mins with the tunnels connecting the West Gate Freeway to the port, city and Citylink.
In the 18 months since work started on the West Gate Tunnel 6.3 million work hours have been clocked up on the project. Construction will be finished in 2022.
As noted by Premier Daniel Andrews
“We’ve built the shed, the TBMs are here and tunnelling will kick off soon to build the second river crossing governments have talked about for decades but never delivered – until now.”
“We’re building major projects Victorians need to slash congestion, get trucks off local streets and get people home safer and sooner.”
As noted by Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan
“Now the shed is done, all focus turns to getting ready for tunnelling – our massive TBMs will work around the clock to dig the tunnels that will deliver a much-needed alternative to the West Gate Bridge.”