The first section of the Metro Tunnel is now complete – with the first tunnel boring machine, Joan, breaking through to complete the journey from Arden Station to the tunnel’s western entrance in Kensington.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan visited the site to celebrate this major milestone with the tunnellers who have worked around the clock for months as Joan dug underneath the city and installed the tunnel’s massive concrete rings.
After tunneling under rail lines, CityLink, Moonee Ponds Creek, North Yarra Main Sewer and the West Melbourne Terminal Station, Joan – named after former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner – has now broken through a 13-metre-deep shaft at Childers Street, Kensington.
Since her launch in August 2019, Joan has travelled 1.2 kilometres and installed 4,200 curved concrete segments to create 700 rings lining the walls of the tunnel. The segments, each weighing 4.5 tonnes, are among 56,000 being manufactured by 70 workers at a purpose-built concrete manufacturing plant in Deer Park.
The second TBM, Meg – named after Australian women’s cricket captain Meg Lanning – is travelling on a parallel route to carve out the second tunnel from Arden to Kensington and will break through in the coming weeks.
Work began in January at the site of the new Anzac Station on St Kilda Road site to assemble the third and fourth TBMs for the Metro Tunnel Project. These are expected to be launched in mid-2020.
Work on the state’s biggest road infrastructure project, North East Link, is also starting in Melbourne’s north.
Early work includes protecting and moving over 34 kilometres of gas, water and sewer pipes and drains and over 95 other utilities, to open the way for major construction to start in 2021.
The $15.8 billion project will connect the Eastern Freeway and the M80 Ring Road and take 15,000 trucks of local roads every day.
When finished, the Metro Tunnel will create capacity for more than a half a million extra passengers a week during peak times across Melbourne’s train network.