Hundreds of homes in Melbourne's inner-west could rattle for days at a time when boring machines start digging the city's $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel.
The $50 million machines used to construct the toll tunnel beneath suburban Yarraville have been purchased, it was announced on Wednesday.
About 350 homes are above the path of the machines, which will move nine metres a day, at least 18 metres underground, 24 hours a day from early 2019.
“People will feel some noise if they’re close by,” Roads Minister Luke Donnellan said.
“Since the machines are moving at nine metres a day this noise will be approximately three to nine days, they will feel some vibration and some noise, but it will be quite limited.”
The homes will be assessed before and after digging in case owners need to be compensated for damage.
The government has started preparation works for the tunnel with toll road giant Transurban, which is funding most of the works and approached the government with the idea for the new road.
There’s been criticism about the works starting when the road and a concession deed to extend Transurban’s tolling of the CityLink to fund the West Gate Tunnel has not even passed parliament.
“This is premature of the government – they haven’t even passed the project through parliament and there’s conjecture it may not be able to pass,” Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said on Wednesday.
The government has also downplayed the re-emergence of the dumped East West Link project in a document linked to the Transurban concession extension.
The road was controversially dumped by the Andrews government at a cost of $1.2 billion, but now the “new route” project is among a list of “assumed transport network enhancements” for which Transurban would forgo compensation because traffic had been diverted from CityLink.
The list is based on the priorities already released by independent authority Infrastructure Victoria, which says the link will be needed in the next 30 years.
But the Labor government says it has no plans to re-visit the road, first planned by the former coalition government, with contracts signed just before the 2014 election.
Mr Guy said he would go ahead with building the road if the funds are available because it is needed.
“It’s pretty clear that the road’s going to be built and to pay a billion dollars not to build it is incredible political negligence, just economic vandalism,” Mr Guy added.