Roadworks, Transport Industry News

Stay aware of North East Link tunnel boring

The next step is underway in the North East Link project in Melbourne as segments of the first tunnel boring machine to dig the pair of road tunnels are lowered into the ground.

This is set to impact drivers travelling along Bulleen Road, Manningham Road and Bridge Street from late March, as works continue on the Manningham Interchange. These changes will stay in place for up to the next two years.

Assembled in parts, the first pieces of the machines were lowered into the ground by a 550-tone gantry crane, and they will both eventually be 90 metres long and 15 metres wide.

Federal transport minister Catherine King says that the boring marks the next step in the project.

“This is a valuable step towards constructing a new motorway between the M80 Ring Road at Greensborough and the Eastern Freeway at Bulleen Road,” she says.

“The project will provide Melbourne with a complete orbital road connection for the first time, reducing travel times for both freight and commuter traffic and taking trucks off the local streets in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.”

Motorists will notice a significant level of work already underway across Melbourne’s north-east to prepare for tunnelling.

A 200m long TBM launch box in Watsonia has been completed, and work has started on the underground box structures near Lower Plenty Road and Manningham Road where the TBMs will excavate into on their journey south.

Barriers and worksites are being set up along the Eastern Freeway and M80 Ring Road so crews can upgrade the freeways that will connect to the North East Link tunnels – cutting travel times by up to 35 minutes.

“This is another significant milestone for North East Link – getting us closer to moving trucks off local roads and slashing travel times across the north-east,” says state transport infrastructure minister Danny Pearson.

“We’re getting on with assembling TBMs on site so tunnelling can kick off in the coming months – building the longer 6.5-kilometre tunnels the community asked for.”

The North East Link, the M80 Ring Road Completion and the Eastern Freeway Upgrades are all expected to be complete in 2028 and have been funded jointly by the state and federal governments.

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