Construction of a new elevated road that will help transform travel in Melbourne’s west is underway, in a major milestone for the West Gate Tunnel Project.
A huge, elevated crane known as a launching gantry has started operating along Footscray Road. Weighing 1200 tonnes, at 27 metres tall and 116 metres long, it will spend the next two years building 2.5 kilometres of road connecting the West Gate Tunnel to CityLink and the CBD.
The launching gantry works by lifting 17 pieces of concrete road segments, some weighing up to 100 tonnes each, into the air.
The segments are then combined to create one span, or section of road, before the launching gantry moves on to repeat the process.
The launching gantry has started building the westbound lanes, making its way toward the Maribyrnong River before it changes direction to build the citybound lanes, making its way toward CityLink. All up, the machine will travel 2.5 kilometres to build six new lanes.
In total, the launching gantry will stitch together around 1,600 locally manufactured road deck segments from Benalla to create 90 spans that will form the elevated road. These spans will be supported by 238 piers (support structures) manufactured at the same local facility.
The construction method means Footscray Road can stay open while the machine builds around the clock over approximately two years, with less disruption for motorists and cyclists.
The West Gate Tunnel Project is so much more than a tunnel. The Port to City section, which extends from the Maribyrnong River to Dynon Road and Wurundjeri Way, has seen major progress in 2021.
The structures to build the bridge over Maribyrnong River continue to take shape, works on Dynon Road continue to come together for the new on-ramp bridge to CityLink and works have started towards the Wurundjeri Way extension bridge.
This is an exciting time for the West Gate Tunnel Project as works continue to ramp up ahead of tunnelling starting in early 2022.