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Tunnelling hits halfway mark with TBM breakthroughs

The Metro Tunnel Project’s twin rail tunnels are now halfway to completion, with the state’s biggest ever public transport project forging ahead over the past month.

Tunnel boring machines (TBM) Joan and Meg have both finished digging between the tunnel’s western entrance in Kensington and the site of the new Parkville Station. Slightly ahead, Joan broke through in late August, with Meg breaking through at Parkville late last week.

Millie, the third TBM, completed tunnelling between the new Anzac Station site under St Kilda Road and the eastern tunnel entrance in South Yarra on Friday. The fourth TBM, Alice, is just weeks from completing a parallel route.

With strict COVID-19 safety measures in place, crews have worked around the clock to line the tunnel walls:

  • excavating more than 364,000 cubic metres of rock and soil
  • installing more than 30,000 individual concrete segments, each weighing 4.5 tonnes.

Meg and Joan are being moved through the station site before being cleaned and recommissioned.

Joan will be relaunched in the coming weeks to dig towards the new State Library Station, with Meg following soon after - as they make their way towards the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

Millie’s cutterhead and shield will be lifted out of the South Yarra tunnel entrance site by crane then transported to the Anzac Station site. The rest of the TBM will be pulled back through the tunnel to Anzac Station, then reassembled and relaunched towards Town Hall Station later this year.

The 4 TBMs are named after ground-breaking women:

  • Joan Kirner, Victoria's first female Premier
  • Meg Lanning, captain of the Australian women's cricket team
  • Lady Millie Peacock, Victoria's first female Member of Parliament
  • Alice Appleford, wartime medical hero

The Metro Tunnel Project will create additional capacity for more than half a million passengers a week during peak periods and transform the way Victorians travel around Melbourne.

The project will connect the Sunbury Line to the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines via two 9km rail tunnels up to 30 metres below the streets of Melbourne, with 5 new underground stations linked to the existing network at key locations.

Metro Tunnel