Thousands of workers are needed to build the 6.5km twin tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen, with the Victorian Tunnelling Centre to play a key role in getting them ready for tunnelling works.
The centre will train workers that will work alongside experienced tunnellers expected to join North East Link from other Big Build projects.
North East Link’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will be among the biggest in the southern hemisphere at 90m long, 15.6m in diameter and weighing around 4000 tonnes. They will arrive next year in pieces, before being assembled and prepared for launch.
The tunnelling centre is located at Holmesglen Institute in Chadstone and includes life-sized replicas of mined and bored tunnels and a massive TBM cutterhead.
The facility is the only one of its kind in Australia and is skilling up the massive pipeline of tunnelling workers needed in Victoria – with North East Link, Metro Tunnel, West Gate Tunnel and Suburban Rail Loop East projects expected to create around 31,000 construction jobs combined.
More than 2300 North East Link workers have already been inducted – with around 150 workers completing the training each week.
Training will range from worksite safety and first aid, to more highly specialised training for crews operating and working near the massive TBMs.
In preparation for tunnelling, North East Link crews are setting up worksites along Greensborough Road and Bulleen Road to get ready to build the ramps and tunnel entrances, and crews have realigned a 300m section of Greensborough Road to make space to build the TBM launch box.