The first major breakthrough on the Melbourne Tunnel Project has occurred as three roadheaders meet 30 metres deep beneath the city above.
Weighing 118 tonnes each and measuring in at 15 metres long, the machines have ben mining station caverns and underground passenger connections for the future State Library station.
More than 500,000 tonnes of material will be excavated by the project in total, with 1500 tonnes of rock and soil removed every 24 hours.
Seven roadheaders will be used in Melbourne’s CBD as part of the Metro Tunnel Project – four for State Library station and three for Town Hall Station.
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Excavation of the State Library station is around 20 per cent complete, with digging expected to finish in late 2020.
Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister, Jacinta Allan, said the breakthrough is a huge achievement after months of hard work.
“These giant roadheaders have been working day and night underground, building the Metro Tunnel – to run more trains, more often, across Melbourne,” Allan said.
As construction continues on the Metro Tunnel, Melbourne-based TTM Rail has been awarded the $1.6 million contract to fit out two X’Trapolis trains for high capacity signalling to be tested on the Mernda Line.
Work has already begun to prepare the track between Epping and South Morang stations for testing in 2020.
Once the project is complete high capacity signalling will be installed on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines.