The Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project is happy to announce 85% of its project now complete as of the 26th March 2021. The construction, which began in 2018, is set to be completed soon, with its opening date set for sometime in 2025 – 2026.
The tunnel seeks to connect previously unsupported areas of the metropolitan Melbourne area with an efficient and inexpensive rail route. Like many other major cities in the world, Melbourne is seeking to modernise their inner city transport system with the introduction of the new rail routes.
Routes for the rail project will see previously remote sites such as Sunbury, Cranbourne and Pakenham with new routes through Victoria. The new lines will be twin 9 km tunnels that are aiming to free up space on the current City Loop rail route.
Work on the tunnels has now entered the final stages of the project, with boring machines beginning their work under the bed of the Yarra River. This period of construction work is one of the most precarious, with machines drilling up to 12 metres below the river bed.
There are only a few hundred metres of tunnelling left to complete to connect Melbourne’s CBD to South Yarra. However, despite working day and night on the project, it will take a strong team of works an estimated two weeks to complete this last part of the tunnel.
Jacinta Allan, the Transport Infrastructure Minister, commented: “Tunnelling on the Metro Tunnel Project is heading into its final stages, with a TBM now digging under the Yarra, as it completes this incredible feat of engineering deep under Melbourne’s CBD”.
The final stage of the tunnel will encounter environments likely to be high in gravel, silt and basalt making it a difficult landscape for engineers to work with. The good news however is that similar geological environments have already been successfully cleared for the tunnel in the project’s past.