Bella is the first of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will build the West Gate Tunnel and is 90 metres long, 15.6 metres high and weighs 4,000 tonnes – one of the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. Bella is made up of hundreds of different pieces that will be delivered to Melbourne over the next few weeks. Vida, the second tunnel boring machine, will arrive very soon.
Specialised training has commenced for over 30 tunnel workers for the West Gate Tunnel Project. They will be fully immersed inside a hyperbaric chamber installed onsite to learn about operating in pressurised conditions.
These workers will work up to 35 metres below ground and will need to spend up to two hours depressurising before returning to the surface. Up to 20 people can work in the tunnel boring machine at any one time.
Bella is expected to start work on the West Gate Tunnel by the middle of the year.