The third tunnel boring machine recently broke through at Town Hall Station after successfully digging under the Yarra.
As the Metro Tunnel Project’s twin nine-kilometre tunnels move closer to completion, focus now turns to major construction of the project’s five new underground stations.
Last weekend Alice, the third tunnel boring machine (TBM) to finish work on the project’s twin tunnels, broke through at Town Hall Station after successfully digging under the Yarra.
It leaves just one TBM to complete the final leg of the 9km tunnels from Kensington to South Yarra, with tunnelling due to finish in the coming weeks.
Arden Station will be the centrepiece of a massive new precinct that will be the home of Victoria’s innovation economy, which is expected to include up to 34,000 jobs and be home to around 15,000 residents by 2050.
The first concrete pour to build the station’s platforms has taken place, with platform construction continuing with the installation of pre-cast platform units and further concrete pours.
The station’s internal walls are in place, construction on the roof slab is near completion and crews have begun to install mechanical, electrical and plumbing services in the station box. Earlier this year, workers installed 38 piles deep into the ground surrounding the eastern end of the station to reinforce the entrance building’s foundations.
Arden Station’s entrance will feature 15 soaring brick arches, which are being built off-site with more than 100,000 bricks laid by hand onto precast concrete, to be delivered on site over the next few months.
The huge arches spanning the entrance are a nod to the rich industrial history and character of Melbourne’s inner north. They will be made up of 52 concrete segments, each weighing 45-50 tonnes and lined with 104,000 bricks.
The bricks were manufactured in Victoria, then transported to a concrete manufacturer in South Australia where they are being laid by hand into the precast concrete segments.
Arden Station is to have a direct link to the Airport in 2029 and be within walking distance of the North Melbourne Recreation Centre, Arden Street Oval and the route 57 tram, creating a transport hub.
The design prioritises pedestrian safety, with pedestrian crossings on Arden Street and Laurens Street, and includes new drop-off zones and taxi bays directly outside the station, and more than 120 bike parking spaces. Work began last month on Laurens Street to realign traffic and bike lanes and add a new pedestrian crossing.
Planning work is currently underway to consider an additional Royal Melbourne Hospital campus and a new Royal Women’s Hospital within Arden, with Melbourne’s renowned medical and research precinct to be extended across two locations – Arden and Parkville – connected by the Metro Tunnel.
The Metro Tunnel Project is on track to be completed by 2025. It will create capacity for more than half a million extra passengers a week during peak times across Melbourne’s train network.
Transport infrastructure minister Jacinta Allan said the Metro Tunnel would not just deliver trains, but a new precinct as well with a direct link to the airport.
“As tunnelling is about to wrap up – the team has a massive task ahead of them to finish the stations, lay the track and get the tunnel ready to deliver more trains, more often,” Allan said.