Melbourne’s $206 million Hobsons Bay main sewer project is set to begin major construction following the launch of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will be used throughout the project. 

Victorian Minister for Water, Harriet Shing, launched the start of the tunnel boring works, officially announcing the name of the TBM that will be used on the project during construction. 

Named after the first female bacteriologist and scientist employed by the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (now known as Melbourne Water), Lucey Alford, TBM Lucey will work 36m underground to dig a 670m long sewer under the Yarra River. 

The newly constructed sewer will stretch between Westgate Park, Port Melbourne and Spotswood. Once completed, the sewer will be capable of transporting 5,200L of sewerage per second, equivalent to filling an Olympic swimming pool in eight minutes. 

Melbourne Water Managing Director, Dr Nerina Di Lorenzo, said that the new sewerage project will benefit the population of Melbourne for years to come. 

“The Hobsons Bay main sewer project forms part of a broader Melbourne Water capital infrastructure program that will enhance the reliability of our sewerage network and services for the benefit of Melbournians today and for the generations to come.”

The project will allow sewerage flows to be diverted to the Melbourne Water Western Treatment Plan during the rehabilitation of the existing sewer, which was originally built in 1960, has reached the end of its service life. 

The new Hobsons Bay main sewer with the upgrade of the existing sewer will help provide a significant increase in the sewer systems capacity given Melbourne’s population is expected to double by 2050. 

Victorian Minister for Water, Harriet Shing said that the new project will help support the growing population and meet demands of the future. 

“The work being undertaken on the Hobsons Bay main sewer network will future proof Melbourne’s sewer needs as our population continues to grow, ensuring our infrastructure is keeping up with future demand.”

The project is being delivered by Melbourne Water, construction company John Holland and Museums Victoria and is expected to be complete in mid-2024. 

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