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North East Link TBM machine arrives by sea


The first of two 4000 t TBMs that will dig the North East Link Tunnels has passed testing. The first parts of the TBM have completed their journey by sea to the Port of Melbourne and they will travel from the Port of Melbourne to Watsonia on oversized trucks in a convoy known as a ‘superload’  over 3 nights on Friday 8 September, Saturday 9 September and Thursday 21 September to minimise impacts to road users.  

The superloads can be up to 60m long, over 4m high and more than 9m wide and will travel at speeds between 5km/h and 40km/h.   

This is the first of more than 20 superloads that will need to travel from the Port of Melbourne to Watsonia over the next 6 months.  

Meanwhile the Spark Consortium - delivering the North East Link  Primary Package get ready for tunnelling to start next year.  

The 15.6m diameter TBMs will take around 6 months to assemble on site, with the parts lowered into the ground by a massive a 550-t  gantry crane. The TBMs will then work day and night digging the 6.5km twin tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen – taking traffic under, instead of through, suburbs.  

Major work sites are being established from Watsonia to Bulleen, as we get ready for the arrival of these massive machines. A 200m long tunnel launch area is being built on the eastern side of Greensborough Road with a 13m high shed being built to store the concrete segments that will line the tunnel walls.  

A large, covered conveyor belt is also starting to take shape, that will transport the dirt from the TBM tunnels across Greensborough Road into a second shed at Winsor Reserve, where it will be safely loaded onto covered trucks. There will be a full overnight closure on Greensborough Road in late September to install the enclosed conveyor across Greensborough Road.  

Further south, crews are moving Bulleen Road further west, to make space to build the new Yarra Link green bridge over Bulleen Road – which will link Koonung Creek Trail to Bulleen Park for the first time. The existing Bulleen Road will stay open until the realigned section is complete later this year.  

Click here for a video to learn how Victoria’s longest twin road tunnels will be built, here and au/36 for tunnelbuilder archive. Visit https://bigbuild.vic.gov.au/. 35/23.