Tunnels South change of scope

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With preparations ramping up for the start of tunnelling on Suburban Rail Loop (SRL), a new approach for tunnelling work is set to significantly reduce disruptions around SRL project work sites.

We’ve been working with our Tunnels South contractor Suburban Connect to improve outcomes for the community as we build the tunnels between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley.

Tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will now be first launched from a recycling facility in Clarinda instead of the nearby train stabling facility in Heatherton (pending planning approvals), with 4 TBMs to be used instead of 6. These changes will reduce the impact of tunnelling on residents near the stabling facility.

A ‘ground freezing’ technique will also be used to build most of the safety passages between the twin tunnels. This technology uses pipes drilled deep underground and injected with chilled brine – salt and water. This stabilises the ground, making it safer to build the cross passages that link the twin tunnels. Doing this underground instead of from the surface means large machinery is largely not required above ground in residential areas, reducing disruption for residents and local road traffic by 90%, and preventing disruptions for nearly 100 homes and businesses.

The Tunnels South contract to build the 16kms of twin tunnels between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley was awarded last year to Suburban Connect, a global consortium of renowned companies CPB Contractors, Ghella and Acciona Construction.

Construction of SRL East is creating up to 8000 direct local jobs in full construction, with more than 1200 people already working on the project.

Tunnelling will start in 2026, and trains will be taking passengers by 2035.

Suburban Rail Loop