Assembly work is now underway on the first of the two massive tunnel boring machines (TBM) that will build the West Gate Tunnel – a $5.5 billion toll road that will move some 9,000 trucks away from homes in Melbourne’s inner west.
Premier Daniel Andrews, who visited the project’s northern portal site in Yarraville to see the progress being made on the massive machine, said it will take around 75,000 working hours to assemble the TBM – Bella – with up to 30 people per shift working around the clock.
“All it takes is one crash to turn the West Gate Bridge into a car park. We desperately need this second river crossing and we’re not wasting a minute delivering it,” the Premier added.
“The Westgate Tunnel will slash travel times, create thousands of jobs and get trucks off local streets in Melbourne’s west.”
To reduce disruption to local business traffic as works ramp up, an 11-tonne, 8 metre-high footbridge for workers made from Australian structural steel and fabricated by Melbourne company, Calbah, is now in place over Somerville Road between the project’s two major Whitehall Road construction sites.
Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said legislation will also be introduced into parliament this week that will provide the framework for the management of the road when it opens in 2022.
She said the legislation will allow State Government to finally deal with the issue of trucks on roads in the inner west by enshrining enforceable truck bans in law.
“We’re not wasting a minute getting on with delivering a much-needed alternative to the West Gate Bridge – that will slash travel times to get locals home sooner and improve bike paths and trains for cyclists,” the Minister concluded.