Metro Tunnel – Discussion with Domain Precinct Mgr

Having met up unexpectedly at the EES Panel hearing on Wed, Jan Swinburne & Simon Adams, MMRA’s Domain Precinct manager, got together on Friday to discuss the current devts associated with the Domain Station construction.

  • Tree removal: The number of trees likely to be removed as part of the Domain Station construction has been considerably reduced with each tree removal now needing to be justified. In other good news, MMRA has engaged sustainability experts from LOCI to focus on the trees – Every effort will be made to maximise the likelihood of trees thriving. Appropriate soil type & depth as well as irrigation will be required for all tree plantings.
  • Albert Reserve: MMRA has managed to reduce the impact on the Albert Reserve. It is likely that some trees, including the Windsor Oak, will not need to be removed. The Boer War Monument will need to be removed & stored during station construction. No decision has yet been reached on its final location.
  • Acoustic shed: MMRA believes that the acoustic shed to be built in St Kilda Rd will protect Botanica from much (how much??) of the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) & construction noise. Simon was receptive to Jan’s suggestions of the shed being painted with trees or having vertical gardens.
  • Traffic flows during construction: Possible routes are still being worked on as are plans for Kings Way, Punt Rd, Canterbury Rd & Ferrars St to take up re-routed traffic. To allow station construction to take place, vehicle & bike lanes in St Kilda Rd are relatively easy to move, tram tracks obviously less so. Need to avoid creating curves which would result in tram screeching adding to the noise. Provision is being made for Botanica residents to access our St Kilda Rd driveway either via Bowen Lane or Bowen Cres depending on station construction requirements. Access to the city, Albert Park etc should be possible via Albert Rd during construction.
  • Traffic flows into the future: MMRA recognises that current traffic flows in this area are problematic for drivers, cyclists & pedestrians. Efforts are being made to work with the relevant authorities to improve future layout & traffic flows as part of the station project. This includes consulting with VicRoads re the current St Kilda Rd Safety Improvement Study.

Great summary, thanks Jan

Metro Tunnel – Process at work?

As many of you would recall, there was a stack of drilling late 2015 and early 2016.  This included a lot of drilling right on our doorstep.  My understanding of how this works is something like this

  • Metro Rail do a stack of drilling
  • They also do some modelling.  Essentially they try and work out how hard the digging will be and what risks they are likely to encounter.
  • They send the models and the data to the short listed bidders.
  • The short listed bidders are told – we think you have enough information to prepare you bids (ie lock in your price).  If you don’t think you have enough information, let us know and we will do some more.

Well you’ll notice some more drilling lately.  As I understand it, this is a result of the short listed bidders saying….”That area near the NGV, we need some more drill samples there.”

It shows the process at work and gives me some comfort that things are working.  I’m also pleased to see that none of the extra drilling is near us (to date)…means all the bidders think this part is not of concern to them.   And remember that this is three separate consortium working independently.

Metro Tunnel – City of Port Phillip

Today City of PP presented – Very balanced, presented by Claire Ferres Miles

They noted that they had already closed many of their issues but some remained.  Here are my notes

  1. Trees
    • Concerned about number being removed
    • Understand that Metro Rail have reduced number from 223 to lower number – want an update
    • Picked up my request – trees that are removed must be replaced as early as possible and not waited until the project end
    • It is not an economic issue, dollars to do trees right is small in respect to overall project cost
  2. Overall Domain precinct
    • Want grander thinking, not JUST the station.  Think more broadly
    • Expand changes as far as Kings Way (esp near Toorak Rd corner)
    • Consider bike linkages
    • Right but feels like City of PP trying to get funds from this for their projects….not unreasonable
    • Boer War memorial – holding firm that move, store and replace is right.  I agree.
  3. Lots on bikes
    • 70% of trips in City of PP are less than 5km
    • Need to speed up St Kilda Rd transport study
    • Want Park St tram link done as part of early works, will help with moving more onto trams during construction and beyond
    • Current plan at Domain Station is 25 bike loops.  City of PP want 400 on Day 1 and provision for massive expansion if it takes off
  4. Cavern versus Cut and Cover
    • They are satisfied that Cut and Cover is right
    • Less spoil
    • Less trucks
    • Less time
    • Difference in tree removal is very low
  5. Chiller in Albert Rd
    • Feels poor location
    • Incorporate into a building
    • Also consider if any power substation is required and do it as part of project
  6. Planning processes
    • Quite a lot of discussion on the process that will occur during the construction
    • Needs to be fair / transparent and workable

Metro Tunnel – Questions from the Panel for Metro Rail

At the hearings today, the Chair tabled a number of issues that she demanded extra information from the Metro Rail Authority.  She listed out around 15-16 issues and they will be formalised over the next 24 hours, I managed to capture the main ones that apply to us.

On the days that I have attended this has not occurred before.  I suspect it is to try and get some movement on these issues during the process and not waiting until the end.  It clearly shows that the issues are material enough to warrant more attention.

  1. Traffic modelling for Domain precinct
  2. Route of tunnel – under or over Citylink.  If it goers over Citylink, what is tree plan.
  3. How they will handle Silica / Asbestos / Aspergillus
  4. Ground water impacts
  5. Station design for floods
  6. Resident management guide – especially as it applies to acoustics

Items 1, 2, 3 and 6 were all ones that our barrister raised when cross examining the MMRA experts.

Metro Tunnel – some videos

After talking to a few residents, I realised that many of you have not had time to read the various documents about the Metro Rail tunnel.  Here’s a crash course via YouTube videos – but be aware that these are ‘promotional’ videos and obviously show the project in its best possible light.  But they are very informative.

The first one gives an idea of the ‘hole’ we will have outside our building where the TBM will be launched.  You see it at about 50 seconds into this video.

The second one is about much of the pre-tunnel work.  Something to note is the acoustic shed that they show (this one at City North).  Something like this is proposed outside our building.  It will be around 3 storey’s high.  Unsightly but designed to contain the noise and dust.

This one shows some graphics of possible Domain Station.  Note that it is not proposed to have any commercial premises inside Domain.

This site has a full collection of videos on Metro Rail

And finally if you search for London Crossrail there are heaps of videos of a similar project in London.


The City of Melbourne presented a number of their concerns to the panel last Thursday.  The full suite of documents is available here.

I have not done much reading but did read their document on Trees, Parks and Open Space.  This one.  It is written by a guy who seems to be much more knowledgeable in this matter than all of us.

He only presents the case for City of Melbourne but he does cover the Domain precinct (amongst various City of M areas).  It is worth reading.  My interpretation is he has some concerns but that with some work he would be OK.  It is interesting that he notes that the EPRs (the controls that bind the contractors) seem stronger than the EES on tree removal – that is good news and means fewer trees are likely to go.

Red ribbons on trees

For your information this is NOT part of anything that Botanica is involved in.  I THINK that the G12 group are behind this action, but not sure.

I personally think that it is very sad that any trees will go but…

  • As I understand it, the difference between the ‘cavern’ method and the ‘cut and cover’ method is only 15-20 trees.  And the cavern method will take longer and so our construction pain will go for longer
  • Many of the trees, especially the ones out Botanica are very nearly at the end of their practical lives.  The City of Port Phillip does not have a great record of replacing old trees with decent new trees.  The ‘new’ tree on our doorstep is about 4 years old now!!
  • Our submission has strongly recommended that trees that MUST be taken, are taken as late as possible and replaced as early as possible with mature trees.

Bottom line is…be careful signing petitions without knowing the facts.

If you want to read more then you’ll have to wade through lots of documents, sorry couldn’t find it easily.

Metro Tunnel – Vibration

Thanks Jan for this info

  1. Dr John Heilig:  Vibration & regenerated noise from construction

Must accept that there will be challenges but firmly believes they can be managed with appropriate EPRs and the CNVMP (Construction Noise & Vibration Management Plan). Domain buildings recognised as stakeholders with signif vibration & ground-borne noise impact. Believes that infrastructure integrity & personal amenity can be managed & protected. Emphasised that vibration standards worldwide are moving away from specific numeric triggers to managing vibration. Long involved description of British vs Ger standards! Has had a lot of relevant experience. Quite impressive.


  1. Nick Tweedie for IAC focussed on the need for dilapidation surveys & determining which buildings would be deemed eligible. Expert pointed out that there are 2 options: distance from the work activity OR assessment of potential vibration/predicted trigger lvl. Agreement that the 2nd option, identifying potentially affected buildings, would be preferable. EPR to be modified to include that buildings which would potentially reach a trigger lvl must have dilapidation/condition report carried out.


Tweedie also made the point that in the RIMG Sect 3.2 Ground-borne noise & vibration, there are no mitigation measures for daytime ground-borne noise exceedence. Discussion re the likely impact of the TBM which would be well above ambient daytime noise levels. Expert agreed that daytime mitigation measures should be included when trigger lvl is reached


  1. Paul Chiappi pointed out that, in terms of Human Comfort, (Technical Appendix I, Appendix B), Botanica’s daytime vibration levels are identified as being more than 2 times the maximum guideline target and ground-borne noise levels more than 10dB(A) above the night guideline target. He stressed that resident impact is determined by both level & duration of exceedence. Expert didn’t know how long high levels of vibration would be expected to last. Expert agreed that, as recommended by Neville Goddard, mitigation measures to reduce vibration impact should be included in the CNVMP eg. scheduling rock-breaking works for normal working hours only, adjusting buffer zones, use of low-vibration methods of rock-breaking close to residential receivers.