9 May 2023

Project update

Work to prepare for the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) arrival continues while M80 Ring Road Completion takes off.

Site compounds are coming together in Yallambie and Watsonia to get ready for tunnelling in 2024. We've finished constructing the foundation of the TBM launch area in Watsonia and excavation of the box is underway.

We're also building sheds and crane platforms to assist with the assembly of the 2 massive TBMs that will be delivered later this year. These include an acoustic shed and conveyor belt at Winsor Reserve in Macleod and a storage shed and gantry crane in Watsonia.

The Lower Plenty Road interchange is being built using the cut and cover construction method. We're building massive concrete walls deep into the ground called 'diaphragm walls'. We'll then remove the dirt and rock from the area and build the tunnel roof so surface activity can resume while we continue to work underground. New worker car parking has been opened on site near Blamey Road in Yallambie to ease congestion on local roads.

New signalised intersections near Oban Way in Yallambie and at Winsor Reserve in Macleod are being built to improve safety on the busy Greensborough Road in advance of major tunnelling kicking off next year. The new signalised intersections will be linked to existing traffic lights in the area to minimise traffic impacts.

Read on to see what will be happening near you in the next 3 months.

M80 Ring Road Completion

The M80 Ring Road is gearing up for a massive upgrade that will include new lanes and up-to-date technology that seamlessly connect to the North East Link Tunnels.

We'll work with a preferred builder to refine the project designs, before sharing them with the community for feedback late this year. We expect construction to start in 2024, with site investigations underway this year.

Map of work areas

Download the fact sheet to view the map of our work areas (PDF, 866.9 KB)

Upcoming works at Watsonia and Macleod

Greensborough Road realignment

The realignment of Greensborough Road maintains access to the Watsonia shops and has created space for our TBM launch area in Watsonia. All lanes of the new road are now complete and small crews are working now to reseed nature strips and restore the surrounding areas.

Tunnel Boring Machine launch area

On the east side of Greensborough Road between Yallambie Road and Watsonia Road, works are continuing at the TBM launch box site ahead of TBM delivery in late 2023. We’re:

  • excavating the TBM launch area
  • continuing works to build the foundations of the tunnel entrance, gantry crane and enclosed conveyor belt
  • starting works for the pre-cast segment storage shed
  • installing a temporary water treatment plant and relocating utilities
  • installing acoustic walls around the edge of the site.

Winsor Reserve acoustic shed

When the TBMs start tunnelling in 2024, the dirt and rock they excavate will come to the surface on a continuous enclosed conveyor belt. The conveyor will carry it over Greensborough Road to a large acoustic shed at Winsor Reserve. Inside the shed, the dirt will be safely loaded on to covered trucks and moved offsite. We’re:

  • levelling the site in preparation to construct the shed
  • building a new signalised intersection into Winsor Reserve off of Greensborough Road
  • starting works on the foundations of the acoustic shed.

The shed will be built to contain noise, dust and light spill as much as possible. Once works are complete in 2028, we'll reinstate Winsor Reserve.

Pre-cast concrete segment shed

Work has begun to construct a large shed that will be used to store the structural segments of our tunnel walls.

These segments are prepared at a specialist manufacturing plant and will be delivered to site to be stored until they are used.

Once tunnelling commences in 2024, up to 125 of these concrete segments will be installed each day as the TBM makes its way south.

Upcoming works at Yallambie

Tunnel ventilation works

The northern tunnel ventilation structure will be located near Blamey Road in Yallambie. We're continuing to prepare the site for construction of the ventilation shaft to connect the tunnels underground to the ventilation facility. We’re:

  • building additional worker car parking within our site
  • continuing excavation and piling works
  • building acoustic walls around the site
  • building a new slip lane on Greensborough Road to help our construction vehicles safely access the site.

Lower Plenty Road interchange area

We’re preparing to build the ramps and tunnels for the new Lower Plenty Road interchange. A large area will be excavated to build the structures, then covered over and returned as parkland for the community. We’re:

  • continuing construction of the diaphragm walls that will form the foundation of the new interchange
  • installing signals at the new site access point for construction vehicles on Greensborough Road opposite Oban Way
  • continuing site investigations and major earthworks including site levelling and realigning Banyule Creek.

Cut and cover construction method

To build the cut and cover tunnels, massive concrete walls will first be built deep into the ground. These walls are known as 'diaphragm walls'. The soil will then be removed from the ground and a large concrete slab will then be poured to make the tunnel roof. Once the roof is in place, surface activity can resume as construction works continue below.

Managing impacts

We’re using real time monitoring to identify and manage dust, noise, light and vibration on site. Several measures are taken to mitigate these impacts including water carts and street sweepers for dust, directing light away from homes, using acoustic fencing to reduce noise and adjusting work methods to reduce vibration.

We understand that project parking in residential areas has been an issue for locals. We have opened car parks on our sites near Blamey Road and within the Lower Plenty Road work area. We are also encouraging alternative forms of transport for our work force.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work with the community to deliver the North East Link Tunnels.

When we'll be working

While we complete most of our works during the day, some extended hours and night time works will be required and we will contact residents and businesses in the area to provide more information as this occurs.

Monday to Friday
  • 7am to 6pm
Monday to Friday
  • 7pm to 6am
  • 7am to 1pm

What are the big blue machines?

These are called hydromills and we'll use them to install over 450 wall segments that form the foundation of the Lower Plenty Road interchange.

Hydromills have two cutter heads on the bottom that dig out the rectangular holes. The machines simultaneously dig out dirt and rock and pump in slurry to stabilise the soil.

We then fill the hole with concrete and reinforce it with a steel cage before moving on to the next segment.

Site investigations for Ring Road Completion

Before major works get started in 2024, we'll be in the area undertaking investigative works to help us refine the project design.

We'll be working at various locations along the project corridor, between Watsonia and the M80 Ring Road and Plenty Road intersection. Our crews will assess trees and vegetation, undertake surveys of bridges, check the location of underground services and assess ground conditions.

Where possible, we'll do these works during normal construction hours. To minimise traffic impacts and safely undertake works near major roads, our crews will need to do some work at night between 6pm and 6am.

While these works won't impact your property, you may notice an increase of workers and construction vehicles in the area, including temporary work sites, traffic controllers and signage, noise from equipment and machinery, and light towers to safely work at night.

Ring Road Completion

We will upgrade the Ring Road with 5 new lanes, smart technology and a seamless interchange with the North East Link Tunnels.

From Greensborough to Watsonia, North East Link will pass under Grimshaw Street, Elder Street and Watsonia Road – keeping local roads for local trips.

Hurstbridge Line works

North East Link will be built over the Hurstbridge train line, meaning the existing rail tunnel under Greensborough Highway will need to be extended and rail signalling upgraded.

We are working closely with other major projects in the area, including the Level Crossing Removal Project’s Hurstbridge Line Duplication, to coordinate the design, planning and delivery of these major works, to minimise disruptions for commuters.

Shop Local

Watsonia shops are open for business during works. North East Link Program and major tunnelling contractor, Spark, are supporting traders by partnering with Watsonia Traders Association and surrounding businesses to keep people shopping local throughout the works.

Visit Watsonia Shops for the latest promotions, activations and giveaways.

Speak with the team

Watsonia Community Hub

Drop in anytime, or contact our project team to make an appointment. For more information, visit our Contact page.

If you require a translator or interpreter, you can phone us on 03 9209 0147.

Contact us through the National Relay Service (extensive list of call options) and request to call our Contact Centre 1800 105 105.

See the Australian Government's Accesshub page for information about accessible services for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment.

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