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West Gate Tunnel Project tunnels now complete

Victoria’s West Gate Tunnel Project has hit another major milestone, with tunnel boring now complete on its twin tunnels.

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Bella has broken through in South Kingsville – completing a 4km journey from the west side of the Maribyrnong River under Yarraville to just east of Millers Road near the West Gate Freeway.

Jacinta Allan and Daniel Andrews speaking with the head of TBM Bella in the background.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allan (left) and Premier Daniel Andrews. Image courtesy of the Victorian Government.

Over the past 15 months, TBM Bella has operated 24/7, excavating enough soil to fill the MCG while installing more than 15,000 individual concrete segments to create the tunnel walls.

“This is a significant breakthrough, completing one of the most challenging parts of the West Gate Tunnel Project,” said Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Jacinta Allan. “In just a few years’ time, thousands of Victorians will travel through this tunnel each day, transforming Melbourne’s west.”

The milestone comes after TBM Vida completed her journey, marking the largest tunnel breakthrough to occur in the southern hemisphere.

The massive tunnel boring machine will be dismantled and removed piece by piece, with the 450t cutterhead buried on-site, and other components either recycled or returned to the manufacturer.

Crews will continue the important work of building the road deck and installing electrical, lighting and safety systems to prepare both tunnels for completion in 2025.

Above ground, work is now underway to construct the ventilation system at the outbound portal and prepare for the installation of the iconic eel net structure.

“We promised we’d build an alternative to the West Gate Bridge to keep our city moving, and we’re getting on with it – creating thousands of jobs and setting our booming western suburbs up for the future,” said Premier Daniel Andrews.

TBM Bella breaks through
TBM Bella has broken through in South Kingsville. Image courtesy of the Victorian Government.

“The West Gate Tunnel Project will slash travel times, take thousands of trucks off local roads, and get families home sooner and safer.”

The project has been designed to offer an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, provide a second river crossing, and remove more than 9000 trucks from residential streets. It will aim to make journeys safer and more reliable, and cut travel times between Melbourne’s west and the city by up to 20 minutes.

There will also be 14 kilometres of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths, and close to 9 hectares of new parks and wetlands.

The West Gate Tunnel Project is being delivered by the Victorian Government and Transurban, along with construction partners CPB Contractors and John Holland (CPBJH JV).

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