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North East Link ready for major tunnelling works

The work so far has involved the relocation of a number of underground power, water, gas and sewer lines to minimise the impact on the community once tunnel construction begins.

Possibly the most complicated job for the early works has been the relocation of the Yarra East Main Sewer (YEMS). Over 18 months the work, completed in June, required three mini tunnel boring machines (TBM) which dug a total of 1.8 km for new sewer lines. Teams also cut an extra 1.5 km of smaller sewer tunnels with laser guided drills.

At Borlase Reserve in Yallambie, 2.5 km of water pipes were relocated.

The North East Link project is a massive investment in fixing the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network. It aims to slash travel times up to 35 minutes in some cases.

Two TBMs are on their way to begin work on the major tunnels for the project. Each machine will be 90 m long, with a diameter of 15.6 m and an approximate weight of 4000 tonnes.

The launch point for the TBMs is a 200 m excavated box that will eventually become the portal for the northern tunnel.

The entire project has been designed to minimise disruption to the communities and neighbourhoods in the surrounding area.

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