A TUNNEL boring machine working on the West Gate Tunnel project in Victoria is on its final journey as major parts are shipped back to the machine’s manufacturer in Germany.

The 240-tonne main drive of the TBM Vida was loaded onto a truck for a super load journey to Appleton Dock.

TBM Vida broke through in February and has since excavated more than one million tonnes of rock and soil.

The Victorian government said the West Gate Tunnel project, once complete, would provide an alternative route to the West Gate Bridge and remove more than 9000 trucks from residential streets.

The machine’s departure comes as the first parts of the TBMs that will dig the North East Link tunnels have completed their journey by sea to the Port of Melbourne.

Victorian Minister for transport and infrastructure Jacinta Allan said Vida’s departure was a significant milestone for the West Gate Tunnel

“The massive machine operated day and night to complete the tunnelling, and I want to thank all the crew’s working 24/7 to help deliver this important project,” she said.

“The West Gate Tunnel will transform travel in Melbourne’s west – providing an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, slashing travel times and taking thousands of trucks off local roads.”

Construction of the road deck of the twin tunnels is now over 90% complete as crews continue the important work of fitting out the electrical, lighting and safety systems to prepare the tunnel for completion in 2025.