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First West Gate Tunnel TBM arrives in Melbourne

Work on the West Gate Tunnel in Melbourne in Australia has reached a major milestone with delivery of the first of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) for the project.

The Herrenknecht TBM – named Bella after Bella Guerin was the first woman to graduate from a university in Australia in 1883 – was delivered to the Port of Melbourne earlier this week.

The TBM will be assembled at the northern portal at Footscray over the next few months.

The project expects to begin the first 4km twin bore road tunnel drive by mid-2019 and is expected to take 18 months to complete. The 90m long, 15.6m diameter and 4,000t TBM is believed to be one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

A second TBM – to be named Vida after Vida Goldstein who was a ground-breaking campaigner for women’s rights, establishing the right for females to vote and stand for election – will drive a 2.8km tunnel.

“We’re not wasting a minute delivering this vital project,” said Victorian government acting premier James Merlino. “The main piece of equipment to build the West Gate Tunnel is now here and we’re getting ready to start boring.

“The West Gate Tunnel Project will be Melbourne’s alternative to the West Gate Bridge and create 6,000 jobs – creating employment opportunities for apprentices, trainees and retrenched auto workers.”


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