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TBM assembly starts at Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel

Assembly of first tunnel boring machine (TBM) for the West Gate Tunnel project in Melbourne, Australia has got underway at the launch site in Footscray.

west gate tunnel tbm 2

west gate tunnel tbm 2

The 90m long, 15.6m diameter and 4,000t TBM is believed to be one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

The 15.6m diameter Herrenknecht TBM – named Bella – will drive the 4km outbound section of the new twin bore road tunnel from the northern portal to the southern portal on the West Gate Freeway.

Another TBM – to be named Vida – will drive the shorter 2.8km in bound tunnel and will also drive the tunnel from north to south.

west gate tunnel tbm

west gate tunnel tbm

The 15.6m diameter Herrenknecht TBM – named Bella – will drive the 4km outbound section of the new twin bore road tunnel

Bella is named after Bella Guerin who was the first woman to graduate from a university in Australia in 1883 and Vida takes her name from Vida Goldstein who was a ground-breaking campaigner for women’s rights, establishing the right for females to vote and stand for election.

The TBMs are expected to achieve advance rates of 9m per day and Bella’s drive of the 4km will take 18 months to complete.

The new road is scheduled to open in 2022.

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