Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel Project has been developed with the objective to respond to Victoria’s increasing population growth. Figures show that in 2017, 260 million people are travelling on Victoria’s rail network, and this is expected to rise to 460 million passengers annually by 2030.
With the City Loop having been completed over 30 years ago, the current Victorian public transport system is in need of revitalisation in order to address current issues that commuters are facing on a day to day basis. These issues are known as ‘pinch points’ which are affecting the CBD’s transport operability. North Melbourne and Richmond stations are experiencing train queuing in regards to accessing the City Loop, which is approaching capacity. Furthermore, trams accessing Parkville and St Kilda are also approaching capacity with passengers experiencing crowding at peak times.
The Metro Tunnel will deliver twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels and five new underground stations at Arden, Parkville, two new CBD stations connected to the City Loop and Domain. This will create more peak capacity on all train lines as well as modernise the existing tram network.
Arden station will support accessibility and connectivity to neighbouring suburbs along the Sunbury and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines while also improving the existing Arden-Macaulay precinct.
Parkville station will for the first time, provide direct access to the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC), Royal Melbourne Hospital and Melbourne University, consequently relieving pressure on local trams and roads.
The Metro Tunnel’s two new CBD stations will more evenly distribute passenger flow and interchange movements in the inner core of Melbourne’s rail network by providing a direct and convenient underground connection between the metro tunnel and the City Loop.
The new station in Domain will improve access to the St Kilda Road precinct and ultimately reduce congestion reliance on trams along St Kilda Road.
The goal of this project is to ensure that the city keeps moving while the metro tunnel is built. Early works including the development of preparatory works, CBD access shafts and demolition of buildings at station entrance locations, where required, have already commenced in order to address construction challenges.
Franklin Street will close between Swanston Street and Victoria Street and A’Becklett Street will close between Swanston and Stewart streets for five years to enable construction of CBD North Station, next to Melbourne Central.
Acoustic sheds will enclose some Metro Tunnel construction sites at City Square, Franklin Street and A’Beckett Street to minimise noise, light and dust impacts on the local community during 24 hour tunnelling activities.
The target completion date for this project is 2026, which accounts for construction works above and below ground, tunnels and station fit-outs as well as installation and testing of critical safety systems needed to be integrated with existing network systems.