Excavation work on the new underground Parkville Station has begun, as part of the Victorian Government’s $11 billion Metro Tunnel Project. Workers are set to remove around 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of rock and soil from the site.
Acting Premier of Victoria, James Merlino, joined Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, at the Metro Tunnel’s Parkville worksite, where crews have begun digging the 270m long and 30m wide station box.
The site is located around 30m below Grattan Street, between Leicester Street and Royal Parade.
“We are undertaking a monumental engineering feat as part of the Metro Tunnel, including constructing new train stations deep beneath some of Melbourne’s busiest areas,” Ms Allan said.
“The Metro Tunnel will make travelling to the renowned Parkville health, education and research precinct easier than ever before, slashing travel times by up to 20 minutes in each direction,” Mr Merlino said.
Excavators will initially dig around three metres deep, while a temporary deck made of concrete and steel is simultaneously built at surface level to reduce noise and dust impacts.
Digging will continue once the deck is completed by March, with trucks heading underground via a ramp to remove rock and soil from beneath the deck.
Once the excavation reaches around 15m it will be too deep for trucks to enter, so gantry cranes will be used to lower buckets through holes in the deck to collect rock and soil.
The cranes will then lower excavated material into trucks inside two acoustic enclosures at surface level, before the trucks exit the site.
The first of three massive gantry cranes have already been installed over the site. The 20-metre high cranes will help remove up to 35 tonnes of rock and soil at a time from beneath the deck and lower construction equipment and materials into the excavated space.
All three cranes will be installed by the end of February 2019.
Excavation will continue until the end of this year, with around 200,000m3 of rock and soil to be removed from the site in 2019.
Once complete, station construction and fit-out will continue underground.
The Parkville worksite saw much activity last year, with crews undertaking a range of works, including closing a section of Grattan Street, relocating underground services, establishing site facilities, building covered pedestrian walkways and demolishing the former City Ford buildings to create a holding area for trucks waiting to access site.
To date, more than 550 piles have been installed at Parkville, including 330 around the perimeter of the new station box. The piles form the underground support structure that has allowed excavation to safely start.
Construction is well underway on all five Metro Tunnel Stations – the new North Melbourne (near Arden Street), Parkville, State Library, Town Hall and Anzac.
The Government’s Metro Tunnel Project is a year ahead of schedule, with the first train set to run through the tunnel in 2025.