Melbourne’s City Square has closed to allow for construction to begin on the biggest public transport project in Victoria’s history, the Metro Tunnel.

Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan, and Acting Lord Mayor Arron Wood said goodbye to the landmark for up to five years for construction of the Metro Tunnel and new underground station.

Over the coming weeks of April 2017, fencing will be installed around City Square and public monuments will be removed – including the water wall and historic Burke and Wills statue.

Construction crews will then demolish the underground car park and build a 35 metre-deep shaft that will be used to transport construction equipment and hundreds of workers deep underground to build the station.
In 2018, a massive acoustic shed will be installed over City Square to reduce noise, light and dust during 24-hour tunnelling and construction.

The new station will be one of five built as part of the Metro Tunnel Project and will have a direct underground connection to Flinders Street Station, the City Loop and the rest of the train network.

The $10.9 billion mega-project will connect three of Melbourne’s busiest lines through a new, 9km tunnel under Swanston Street through the heart of the city.

By removing the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury lines from the City Loop, the Metro Tunnel will create space to run more trains, more often across Melbourne.

By 2022, City Square will be returned to the City of Melbourne as public open space, with an entrance to the new station underneath. The Metro Tunnel Project will be complete by 2026.

Ms Allan said, “This is the beginning of years of disruption, to deliver decades of benefits – creating space to run more trains, more often right across Melbourne.

“Melbourne needs the Metro Tunnel and we’re not wasting a moment. City Square is closed, major construction begins soon – we’re getting on with it and creating thousands of jobs in the process.”

Mr Wood said, “As of today, the City of Melbourne has formally relinquished ownership and possession of this popular public space to enable our city’s most important public transport project to begin – the Metro Tunnel.

“This will be a major change and disruption to our city but I am confident that we can continue to work with the Victorian Government to negotiate the best outcome for the people of Melbourne. If Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and London can do it, so can Melbourne.”

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