The first of two tunnel boring machines (TBM) for construction of an important transport tunnel, has arrived in Melbourne.
The machine, which will be used to build Melbourne’s AU$6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel, was shipped in parts to the Port of Melbourne, where Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino joined the Minister for Transport Infrastructure Melissa Horne were waiting to meet the cargo.
The rest of the pieces that will make up the TBM will be delivered over the coming weeks to the West Gate Tunnel’s northern portals in Footscray, before being assembled in the coming months.
The 90 m long, 15.6 m diameter Herrenknecht TBM is one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere weighing in at 4,000 t, and was manufactured in Nansha, China where its first test assembly was completed.
Specialised training for the project has now also started for more than 30 tunnel workers with a hyperbaric chamber installed on site so workers learn about operating in pressurised conditions.
Workers will work up to 35 metres below ground level and will need to spend up to two hours depressurising before returning to the surface.
Up to 20 people will work in the TBM at any one time.
The Victorian Government also announced a AU$124 million contract has been awarded to Liberty to supply 92,200 t of steel to be used across the corridor from Docklands to Laverton to reinforce the lining of the project’s twin tunnels, bridge segments, noise walls and retaining walls.
Last week, a microtunnel boring machine named Mollie made the first breakthrough as part of works to create a new diverted section of the 110-year-old North Yarra Main Sewer, which will make room for the West Gate Tunnel.
Tunnelling is expected to commence in mid-2019.
For more information visit the West Gate Tunnel website.
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