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Construction has begun on the $6.7 billion West Gate Tunnel, despite key planning approvals and legislation not having passed Parliament.
Workers started clearing the site and excavating on Whitehall Street in Footscray on Wednesday, at what will be the northern portal of the controversial toll road which will link the West Gate Freeway in Yarraville and CityLink in Docklands.
Speaking at the site Premier Daniel Andrews declared that the project would go ahead even if it does not receive planning approvals in Parliament.
"Blockers, people who have no plan, they are irrelevant to the work that needs to be done in this state," Mr Andrews said.
"We are not wasting any time, we said we would start almost immediately, that's exactly what has happened."
Workers will dig down more than seven storeys to make way for the project's two massive, $50 million tunnel-boring machines.
From 2019, the 90-metre machines will tunnel 24 hours a day through the week towards the West Gate Freeway, moving nine metres per day. A concrete lining will be created behind the machines as they bore through the earth.
About 350 homeowners whose properties may be damaged by the boring will be compensated.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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