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Metro Tunnel sees first breakthrough

The first section of Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel is now complete after the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) broke through to the tunnel’s western entrance in Kensington.

The first section of Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel is now complete after the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) broke through to the tunnel’s western entrance in Kensington.

TBM Joan, named after former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner, was launched from Arden Station in August 2019, travelling 1.2 kilometres and installed 4200 curved concrete segments to create 700 rings lining the walls of the tunnel. The segments each weigh 4.5 tonnes and are manufactured by 70 workers at a purpose-built manufacturing facility in Deer Park.

The machine has tunnelled under rail lines, CityLink, Moonee Ponds Creek, North Yarra Main Sewer and the West Melbourne Terminal Station, it has broken through a 13-metre-deep shaft at Childers Street, Kensington.

The second TBM, Meg, which was named after Australian women’s cricket captain Meg Lanning, is travelling on a parallel route to create the second tunnel from Arden to Kensington. It is expected to break through in the coming weeks.

Work began in January at the site of the new Anzac Station on St Kilda Road site to assemble the third and fourth TBMs for the Metro Tunnel Project. These are expected to be launched in mid-2020.

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“We said we’d build Victoria’s biggest public transport project – and it’s great to see the first section of the Metro Tunnel complete,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“The Metro Tunnel and North East Link are part of our massive pipeline of road and rail projects that will transform the way Victorians move around our city and state.”

Work on the state’s biggest road infrastructure project, North East Link, is also starting in Melbourne’s north.

Early work includes protecting and moving over 34 kilometres of gas, water and sewer pipes and drains and over 95 other utilities, to open the way for major construction to start in 2021.

When finished, the Metro Tunnel will create capacity for more than a half a million extra passengers a week during peak times across Melbourne’s train network.

“Whether it’s upgrading rail lines, building new stations or delivering safer and more reliable roads – we are delivering the major transport projects Victorians need,” Transport Infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan said.

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