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Crane used to assemble West Gate Tunnel TBM

A gantry crane capable of lifting up to 500 tonnes will begin lowering pieces of a 90-metre-long tunnel boring machine (TBM) for Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel Project.

The launch site for the TBM has taken a year to complete and is twice the length of an AFL oval, measuring in at 300 metres long, 40 metres wide and 22 metres deep.

It is from here that the TBM will begin to dig south west to build the twin tunnels to connect the West Gate Freeway to the port, city and CityLink.

It is part of the Victorian Government’s goal to provide an alternative to the West Gate Bridge and take 9000 trucks of residential streets.

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Pieces of the TBM, named Bella, are being lowered into the ground to be assembled.

After Bella has been constructed, a second TBM called Vida will be assembled to begin digging the shorter citybound tunnel. Vida will be assembled above ground before being lowered into the launch site.

The launch site is lined with 20,000 cubic metres of reinforced concrete to provide a stable site to launch the 4000-tonne machine.

Once tunnelling is complete, the launch site will become the future northern entry and exit to the West Gate Tunnel.

To learn more about the West Gate Tunnel Project, visit Inside Construction.

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