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Mon December 04 2023

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Final parts assembled for southern hemisphere’s biggest TBM

20 Aug 19 The final pieces have been lifted into place for the largest tunnel boring machine (TBM) in the southern hemisphere.

The four-storey-high cutterhead of TBM Bella has been lowered 27m into position. Positioning of the 450-tonne cutterhead involved the use of a 500-tonne gantry crane, which initially lifted it from the horizontal to the vertical and then moving it over the launch site before lowering it into place.

TBM Bella is getting ready to start digging the West Gate Tunnel in Melbourne, Australia. Bella and a second TBM, Vidam will build Victoria’s alternative to the West Gate Bridge, allowing the removal of up to 9,000 trucks from residential streets.

The cutterhead sits on the front of TBM Bella, which will take 18 months to dig the longer outbound tunnel connecting the city to the West Gate Freeway. It will rotate up to almost two times per minute during normal tunnelling operation and up to 3.5 times per minute when cutting through dense rock sections.

The assembly of the second TBM, Vida, will begin soon ready for tunnelling to start later this year.

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