A new mini tunnel boring machine has arrived on site at the West Gate Tunnel project in preparation for a major construction blitz.

There will be five nights of full closures on the West Gate Freeway as workers remove overhead gantries and light poles as they begin construction of two new lanes in each direction on the freeway.

Acting Premier, James Merlino, and Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, visited the West Gate Tunnel’s tunnelling hub site in Yarraville recently to inspect the new mini tunnel boring machine (TBM).

The mini TBM will dig a new section of the North Yarra Main Sewer with 600m of the 100 year old sewer being diverted to make way for the new road tunnels that will connect the West Gate Freeway to the port, CityLink and the city.

Once it’s launched, the mini TBM is expected to move 12m a day and excavate approximately 9000m3 of dirt over the next year to build the new section of sewer.

At 3m in diameter, the mini TBM is one fifth the size of the massive TBMs that will dig the West Gate Tunnel Project’s twin road tunnels.

“It may be small, but this mini TBM will excavate 9000 cubic metres of soil and rock over the next 12 months to ensure a critical piece of underground infrastructure isn’t disrupted while we build the West Gate Tunnel,” State Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan said.

Starting in the coming weeks, Whitehall Street, Yarraville, will be closed to northbound traffic between Leek Street and Somerville Road for approximately 12 months as the sewer diversion works take place.

Signage on the West Gate Freeway, Whitehall Street, and local roads will alert motorists to temporary detours and speed limit changes during the closures.

More than 1500 people are already working on the West Gate Tunnel Project, with the workforce to grow to 6000 at peak construction.

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