Metro Tunnel reaches halfway milestone

Tunnelling has hit the halfway mark following the recent breakthrough of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) through key sections of the Metro Tunnel. TBM Meg broke through at the new Parkville station less than 24 hours after TBM Millie completed its journey from the Anzac Station site on St Kilda Rd to the eastern tunnel entrance in South Yarra. The dual breakthroughs mark a major milestone, with 50 per cent of the tunnelling now completed. Construction on the Metro Tunnel Project has continued throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1800 workers adhering to strict COVID-19 safety measures to keep the project going. The TBMs have so far excavated more than 364,000 cubic metres of rock and soil and installed more than 30,000 individual concrete segments, each weighing 4.5 tonnes, to line the tunnel walls. TBM Millie’s cutterhead and shield are being lifted out of the South Yarra tunnel entrance site by crane and transported to the Anzac Station site. The rest of the TBM is being pulled back through the tunnel to Anzac Station, then reassembled and relaunched towards Town Hall Station later this year. Students head for the virtual classroom While it’s all quiet at the Metro Tunnel HQ visitor centre in Swanston St, students can still discover lots about the project. Education program manager Cherida Longley said providing a Metro Tunnel experience to students wherever they may be during lockdown had been a focus. “We delivered our first series of remote sessions to Year 9s from Mullauna College, Mitcham,” she said. “Like many schools, their scheduled city experience week had to be cancelled, so we moved their bookings online” Cherida expects that with excursions on hold, the free remote learning sessions will continue to be popular. “We find ways to demonstrate how simple scientific principles translate to the Metro Tunnel Project,” she said. You can make a booking enquiry for a school session via the Metro Tunnel Education website, which includes a host of further ideas, activities and opportunities for children to learn about Victoria’s biggest-ever public transport project. •

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