West Gate Tunnel Project in Australia

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Tunnel boring on the twin tunnels for the West Gate Tunnel is officially complete. The milestone achievement was announced by the Victorian Government.  

While commenting on the project, Victoria’s Minister for Transport and Infrastructure said that it is a significant breakthrough. Moreover, Jacinta Allan further said that it was one of the most challenging parts of the West Gate Tunnel Project. As a result of the milestone, thousands of Victorians will be able to travel through the tunnel on a daily basis. In extension, it will also serve as an essential transformation to Melbourne’s west. 

Currently, work is underway to construct the ventilation system, above ground at the outbound portal. Moreover, plans are being made for the preparation of the iconic eel net structure’s installation. Crews will also continue the essential work of building the road deck. In addition to the installation of lighting, electrical, and safety systems.

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews also spoke about the project noting that it is creating thousands of jobs. Moreover, he said that the West Gate Tunnel Project serves as a fulfillment of the promise of building an alternative to the West Gate Bridge. In extension, the project also strives to set booming western suburbs up for the future. 

Reported earlier

April 2022

Cooperation for Completion of the West Gate Tunnel Project in Australia

To finish the West Gate Tunnel Project that will provide a second freeway link between Melbourne’s west and the city, a much-needed alternative to the West Gate Bridge, and a vital second river crossing, the Victorian Government has cooperated with Transurban, a road operator company that manages and develops urban toll road networks in Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Melbourne’s major highways convey millions of passengers and crucial goods, with the West Gate Freeway being one of the busiest, carrying over 200,000 automobiles every day. The West Gate Bridge is at capacity, and a single event has the potential to disrupt the whole traffic system. Furthermore, the west’s trucks are forced to use local roads to get to the port.

Upon completion, the West Gate Tunnel Project will reduce truck traffic on residential streets while relieving congestion on the West Gate Freeway and the West Gate Bridge.

Digging of the West Gate Tunnel

The West Gate Tunnel is built with the Southern Hemisphere’s largest tunnel boring machine (TBM). Bella, a massive TBM, was deployed underground in Melbourne’s western suburbs to build a replacement for the West Gate Bridge. The 4km outbound tunnel, which will link with the West Gate Freeway at Altona North, is already under construction. It will be buried for 18 months beneath the dirt of Yarraville.

Also Read: Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport, Australia

Vida, the second TBM, will begin work on the 2.8km inbound tunnel soon. The TBMs’ names are Bella Guerin and Vida Goldstein. The TBMs are 15.6m in diameter and 90m in length, and each weighs 4000 tonnes, about the weight of 20 Boeing 747 airplanes.

They have an advanced computerized navigation system and can dig an average of 9m each day. They were carefully chosen for their ability to operate deep down while causing the least amount of inconvenience to traffic, businesses, and houses above ground.

The TBMs will be piloted by a highly trained, experienced team who will work around the clock to finish the tunnel. While the TBMs are drilling into the earth, a mobile factory will be building massive concrete rings to form the tunnel’s structural and waterproof lining. Crews of up to 20 people will next construct the road surface and the electric, ventilation, and safety systems.

The excavated earth will be delivered to a specially built Hi-Quality facility in Bulla. The TBMs underwent comprehensive testing and commissioning at the project site in Yarraville before commencing on their journey to guarantee they were operationally sound.