The West Gate bridge

The Victorian Government has announced that tunnel boring is complete on the twin tunnels which form a key part of the West Gate Tunnel project.

The project is expected to provide an alternative to the congested West Gate Bridge.

Victoria Premier, Daniel Andrews, said, “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.”

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

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) Bella broke 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.

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

Since 2022, 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.

The significant 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.

When complete, the West Gate Tunnel Project plans to transform travel in Melbourne’s west. It will deliver an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, provide a second river crossing, and remove more than 9,000 trucks from residential streets.

Journeys will be safer and more reliable with travel times between Melbourne’s west and the city slashed by up to 20 minutes.

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

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