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North East Link ready for major tunneling works

Early work needed to make way for Victoria’s North East Link scheme is nearing completion, paving the way for tunneling work to begin later this year.

Work so far has involved relocating a number of underground electricity, water, gas and sewer lines to minimize the impact on the community once construction of the tunnel begins.

Perhaps the most complicated job for the early works was the relocation of the Yarra East Main Sewer (YEMS). Over 18 months, the work, completed in June, required three mini tunnel boring machines (TBM) who dug a total of 1.8 km for new sewer lines. Crews also dug an additional 1.5 km of smaller sewer tunnels with laser-guided drills.

In the Borlase reserve in Yallambie, 2.5 km of water pipes have been moved.

The northeast link project is a massive investment to fix the missing link in Melbourne’s motorway network. It aims to reduce journey times by up to 35 minutes in some cases.

Two tunnel boring machines are on their way to start work on the major tunnels of the project. Each machine will be 90m long, 15.6m in diameter and weigh approximately 4,000 tonnes.

The launch point for the tunnel boring machines is a 200 m dug box which will eventually become the portal of the north tunnel.

The entire project has been designed to minimize disruption to surrounding communities and neighborhoods.

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