The two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will create Victoria’s longest road tunnels are almost set to begin their journeys.

North East Link’s twin three-lane road tunnels will connect the M80 Ring Road to the Eastern Freeway. At 6.5km long, the new tunnels will be twice the length of the Burnley tunnel.

The TBM cutterheads have been lowered into place in Watsonia  one of the last major pieces to be assembled for the TBMs before they can be launched.

The huge purple cutterhead will be front-and-centre when tunnelling starts  the first part that cuts into the rock. Next, the TBMs will be tested and commissioned before they start digging south towards Bulleen.

When fully assembled, the massive TBMs will be 90m long, 15.6m wide and weigh more than 4000t – among the biggest in the southern hemisphere.

The TBMs will move at approximately 10m per day and up to 45m below ground.

Tunnelling is expected to go well into 2026, ahead of the tunnels opening to traffic in 2028.

Image credit: Victorian Government

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