The first of two giant Tunnel Boring Machines (TBMs) has broken through on the West Gate Tunnel Project, marking the completion of excavation on the first of two twin tunnels under Yarraville that will create an alternative to the West Gate Bridge.
TBM Vida broke through in Yarraville, completing a 2.8km journey that started on the west side of the Maribyrnong River under Yarraville and finished at Williamstown Road near the West Gate Freeway.
The breakthrough marks a significant milestone for the project, with TBM Bella also scheduled to complete her 4km journey in the coming months.
Bella and Vida are currently the two biggest TBMs operating in Australia, and the breakthrough is the largest to ever occur in the southern hemisphere.
Over the past nine months, TBM Vida has been operated 24/7 by a crew of up to 20 people, excavating over 1,000,000 tonnes of rock and soil while installing more than 10,000 individual concrete segments.
Crews will now continue on the important work of building road deck and installing electrical, lighting and safety systems to prepare the tunnel for completion in 2025.
Significant work will soon begin to remove Vida piece-by-piece, using a 500-tonne gantry crane to lift the components of the 90m long and 15.6m wide Tunnel Boring Machine out of the pit.
The massive tunnel boring machine will now be dismantled and removed piece by piece over a period of three months with the parts either recycled or returned to the manufacturer for other use.
When complete, the West Gate Tunnel Project will transform travel in Melbourne’s west. It will deliver a vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge, providing a much needed second river crossing, and removing more than 9000 trucks from residential streets.
Journeys will be safer and more reliable with travel times between Melbourne’s west and the city slashed by up to 20 minutes.
There will also be 14km of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths, and close to 9 hectares of new parks and wetlands.