VIC North East Link Project gears up for major construction

Monica Gameng   |   June 10, 2022
North East Link (cr: Victoria's Big Build)

North East Link – the biggest ever investment in Melbourne’s north-east – is gearing up towards the beginning of major construction later this year with works now underway on a new dedicated busway and orders placed for two massive tunnel boring machines. 

The North East Link development is a combination of five major projects. Not only will it deliver Victoria’s longest twin road tunnels, but it will also complete the Ring Road in Greensborough, upgrade the Eastern Freeway, build Melbourne’s first dedicated busway and deliver over 34 kilometres of walking and cycling paths. 

“This is one of many transport infrastructure projects happening in the area, all aimed at making travel quicker and easier for people in the north east,” Member for Eastern Metropolitan region Sonja Terpstra said. 

With works ramping up on the first part of the dedicated busway – the $69 million Bulleen Park & Ride – intermittent lane closures as well as reduced speeds will be observed on Thompsons Road until October of this year. This will enable crews to continue building the second level of the commuter car park to prepare for the 5,000-SQM green roof and community park. 

Once completed, the Bulleen Park & Ride will provide up to 370 car parking spaces along with bike storage and pick-up and drop-off bays to make it easier for people to access the fast and frequent bus services to and from the city. 

The new dedicated busway will enable buses to travel uninterrupted along an upgraded Eastern Freeway, helping slash travel times for the 17,000 bus commuters each weekday. New cycling and walking paths will also be delivered to connect Bulleen Park & Ride with Koonung Creek Trail and Thompsons Road. 

The Bulleen Park & Ride is due to open by the end of 2022 – four years ahead of schedule – and it is expected to cater for about 1,000 bus services each week, providing passengers with direct access from Bulleen, Doncaster, Doncaster East and Templestowe. 

“It’s exciting to see such great progress on the Bulleen park and ride and we look forward to seeing buses driving through at the end of the year,” Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said. 

 

On the other hand, orders have been placed for the two massive tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig the North East Link’s 6.5-kilometre road tunnels. The TBMs are going to be supplied by German company Herrenknecht and are going to be among the largest in the southern hemisphere with a length of 90 metres, a diameter of 15.6 metres and weight of about 4,000 tonnes each. 

The TBMs will take 18 months to be designed, manufactured, tested and shipped. From Melbourne, the TBMs will be transported to the launch site in Watsonia where they will begin their journey south towards Bulleen. 

Significant work will get underway all throughout Winter to prepare for tunnelling, including switching on the new Yarra East Main Sewer that was moved to make way for North East Link and establishing construction compounds along Greensborough Road and at Winsor Reserve. 

“North East Link isn’t just Victoria’s biggest road project – it’s the largest ever investment into Melbourne’s North East. It is fantastic to see the massive progress being made on Bulleen Park & Ride, which is set to open by the end of the year – four years ahead of schedule. 

“These massive tunnel boring machines are an impressive feat of engineering – they’ll be able to cater for all ground conditions and will tunnel up to 40 metres underground, well below homes and the Yarra River,” Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said. 

The entire North East Link Project is delivered in partnership with the Albanese Government. 

The North East Link Project is anticipated to create more than 10,000 jobs over its life. Earlier this year, a recruitment drive was announced with dozens of jobs out to market. You can read more about the recruitment drive here. 

Meanwhile, the Spark consortium – comprised of WeBuild, GS Engineering and Construction, CPB Contractors, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing Investments, DIF and Pacific Partnership – was awarded an $11.1 billion contract to build, operate and maintain the twin road tunnels. You can read up more about the contract award here. 

Source: Premier of Victoria – Media Centre; Victoria’s Big Build – North East Link Program (1, 2, 3); Roads & Infrastructure Australia 

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Monica Gameng
As Felix's Marketing Assistant since 2015, Monica is responsible for researching and sharing new and progressing projects within the construction and mining sectors in Australia. It's no surprise that Monica has her finger on the pulse of Australian major projects given she has produced more than 1,000 posts. She truly is an industry expert.
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