9 September 2018

All of Victoria has been invited to enter a naming competition for the two massive West Gate Tunnel Project tunnel boring machines, as part of a larger competition to name all six of the massive machines that will be tunnelling under Melbourne over the next few years.

The state-wide competition invites Victorians to name the six TBMs that will construct the West Gate Tunnel and the Metro Tunnel.

The six lucky winners will be invited onto a Metro Tunnel or West Gate Tunnel worksite next year for a VIP experience and close up of the TBMs.

Tunnelling tradition dictates a TBM cannot start work until it has been given a female name, a sign of good luck for the project ahead – so the competition will seek suggestions that recognise inspiring or ground-breaking women, with a preference for Victorians.

The tradition of naming TBMs after women can be traced back to the 1500s when miners and military engineers working with explosives, for underground excavation, prayed to Saint Barbara for protection.

Machines used on other international tunnelling projects have been named after monarchs, Olympians, Paralympians, mayors, and fictional characters such as Alice in Wonderland.

The West Gate Tunnel TBMs will be the biggest ever used in the Southern Hemisphere – almost as long as three E-class trams and as tall as the top of the dome at Flinders Street Station.

Collectively, the six TBMs will create around 25 kilometres of tunnel, operating like moving factories as they excavate up to 40 metres beneath Melbourne, boring through rock and soil, transporting the material to the surface for disposal and progressively installing a concrete lining behind them to seal the tunnel.

When launching the competition, Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, said “These machines are massive – if you had to park them all in one place you’d need a space bigger than the playing surface at the MCG.”

Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan added “This competition gives the public a unique opportunity to learn more about the monumental engineering feat we are undertaking to build the massive public transport and road projects Victoria desperately needs.”

“Just like the tunnel boring machines will break through ground to create city changing infrastructure, we’re looking for ground-breaking women that changed our state.”

All entries to the TBM naming competition can be submitted online at the Big Build website, with the competition to close on 7 October.