Construction has commenced on the multi-billion dollar project that will serve as an alternative to the West Gate Bridge – the West Gate Tunnel.
Site clearing has started on Whitehall Street in Footscray where workers will be digging 7 storeys down, paving the way for the two massive tunnel boring machines (TBM) that will be used for the project.
“This site will be a hive of construction activity for the next five years as we build this vital alternative to the West Gate Bridge.
“We’ll be keeping the community informed every step of the way, doing everything we can to make things easier for locals during construction,” Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan said.
The TBMs are expected to be launched in 2019 and it will make its way towards the West Gate Freeway, moving approximately nine metres a day and excavating soil and rock enough to fill the MCG.
Concrete lining will be installed behind the TBMs as it bores through the earth, and this will form the walls, roof and base of the tunnel. On the other hand, construction crews that follow behind will be working on building the road surface as well as install electrics, ventilation and safety systems.
Source: West Gate Tunnel
Later this year, a site work is going to be established at Somerville Road and this site is going to be connected to the Whitehall Street site by an elevated heavy-duty, covered conveyor belt. The conveyor will transport dirt and rock to large sheds from the TBM excavation and will be loaded onto covered trucks and hauled off-site.
The West Gate Tunnel project is expected to support up to 6,000 jobs and the two sites mentioned above will be home to more than 500 of the workforce.
“It’s all systems go for the West Gate Tunnel – construction is underway.
“We’re getting on with this vital project to take the pressure off the West Gate Bridge and create 6,000 new jobs for Victorians,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Other projects will be established in the coming months in the inner west as works to widen the West Gate Freeway commences. This will include moving utilities such as gas pipes, sewers and drains to make way for the tunnel.
As of December 2017, construction of the project is expected to cost $6.7 billion as the length of the tunnels are doubled and other infrastructure were included in the design. A joint venture between John Holland and CPB Contractors have been awarded the contract to build the project.
The West Gate Tunnel is expected to open to traffic in 2022.
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Source: Premier of Victoria