Time for mini Tunnel Boring Machine’s first dig on North East Link

Published: 22 February 2021

The first of three North East Link mini tunnel boring machines (TBMs) will soon get to work digging a vital piece of sewer network in Melbourne’s north east.

The first 40-tonne mini TBM is just days away from being launched at Trinity Grammar School’s Marles Playing Fields. From here, it will dig 20 metres below the ground to shift the 1.8-kilometre Yarra East Main Sewer in Bulleen out of the way to allow for North East Link.

Three mini TBMs in total, each up to 6.6 metres long, will be used to complete the massive sewer relocation works, with seven launch and retrieval sites dotted around Bulleen Road.

The mini TBMs will lay down seven metres of pipe a day while they dig, without needing to dig trenches so dust and soil stockpiles are kept to a minimum.

Using this technology to work underground will help avoid a significant amount of disruption for residents, schools and community facilities in the area, but there will be lane closures and speed reductions at times on Bulleen Road.

This is a key milestone for the project’s early works program, ahead of major construction of the North East Link in late 2021.