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Mini tunnel boring machine digs major Melbourne sewer upgrade

Tunnel boring works on a 900-metre-long sewer have finished under Melbourne’s CBD, the city’s biggest upgrade to its sewer network in more than 120 years.

A 16.3 tonne, 6.3-metre-long tunnel boring machine (TBM) was used to make way for the new 1.5 diameter pipe on Lonsdale Street as part of the $21 million Lonsdale Street Sewer Upgrade.

The TBM was lowered into a 23-metre-deep shaft in March and excavated from William Street to Elizabeth Street, before returning to William Street to complete its final 350 metre journey towards Spencer Street.

The new sewer will provide additional capacity to the existing sewer catchment, which was constructed in the 1890s and had been nearing capacity.

Expected future growth in the number of city residents, visitors and workers meant it was important to upgrade the CBD’s current network.

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The upgrade works have created 35 jobs and provides safe and environmentally responsible sewerage services for the community. Works are expected to be completed by the end of the year and will link with the Spencer Street Sewer Upgrade (Stage 1) which was completed in December 2018.

The upgrade is part of City West Water’s $80 million four stage capital improvement program to maintain service reliability for the region.

“The new sewer will help to cater for expected growth of the inner-city population and ensure reliable sewerage services for years to come,” Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville said.

“This significant investment highlights our work to deliver the essential water infrastructure the community needs and support local jobs.”

Construction on Stage 3, which includes construction of a new sewer along Elizabeth Street, will begin in 2021.

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