Work on the Regional Rail Link – Australia's largest public transport infrastructure project – will ramp-up in theNew Year following the selection of contractors to build its two longest sections as well as install the technology which will manage the flow of trains along this new line and provide 'real-time' information to those using it.
Gorton MP Brendan O'Connor – representing the Commonwealth Government – and Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder today announced contracts worth more than $1.6 billion have been awarded to:
- Thiess, Balfour Beatty, Parsons Brinckerhoff and SKM, the consortium tasked with laying 7.5 kilometres of new track between Footscray and Deer Park as well as building a new station at West Footscray and upgrading the existing stations at Footscray, Sunshine and Tottenham. Work is expected to start in early 2012.
- Baulderstone/ Leighton Joint Venture which will lay 25 kilometres of new track between Deer Park and West Werribee as well as build new stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit. Work is expected to start in mid-2012.
- UGL and Manidis Roberts, the consortium which from mid-2012 will install the fibre optics network that will support the train control systems, the signals along the corridor and provide information to the passengers waiting at the new and upgraded stations.
Mr O'Connor said after more than three years of planning work, community consultations and preconstruction activities, it's now full steam ahead on a project which will give Melbourne its first new major rail line in some 80 years.
"All up, the contracts awarded today will put over 500 Victorians – including more than 50 apprentices – to work laying 32.5 kilometres of new track, building three new stations, upgrading two existing stations and removing two level crossings," Mr O'Connor said.
"In partnership with Victoria, the Federal Labor Government is building the new, modern rail infrastructure that will make Melbourne as well as regional centres such Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo even better places to live, work and raise a family," Mr O'Connor said.
"Without a doubt, the Regional Rail Link project ticks all the right boxes.
"And unlike our predecessors we recognise the task of modernising and expanding the infrastructure within and between our major cities is too big for any one level of government. That's why we have already allocated more to public transport projects, like Regional Rail Link, than all our predecessors since Federation combined."
The Regional Rail Link project is being built with funding from by both the federal and Victorian governments, with the former contributing $3.2 billion.
Victorian Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said once completed in early
2016, the new Regional Rail Link will remove major bottlenecks from the state's public transport system by separating regional and metropolitan trains.
"With major construction activity now on track to progressively kick-off in the west from early 2012, this is without a doubt an exciting time," Mr Mulder said.
"This multi-billion project will revitalise our State's public transport system and in doing so, better connect our growing communities to each other as well as to jobs, education, recreation and other vital services.
"Footscray Station will be upgraded to a major country interchange with new platforms and escalators. The new line will allow country trains to run express from Footscray to Southern Cross Station.
"Regional commuters who currently experience lengthy delays waiting near North Melbourne will enjoy a faster, smoother journey into Southern Cross Station once the Regional Rail Link is completed.
"Importantly, by adding in two major grade separations at Anderson Road Sunshine, we will help alleviate congestion and remove level crossings to make it safer. This is an important part of Victorian Coalition Government's unprecedented investment in removing level crossings.
"The Regional Rail Link Authority will continue to engage with stakeholders and communities to further develop project design solutions as construction progresses."
Delivery of the Regional Rail Link project will involve a total of six major packages of work, with the remaining two contracts – Southern Cross Station to Footscray and at West Werribee Junction – expected to be awarded next year.
The contract for track and civil works from Southern Cross Station to Moonee
Ponds Creek was awarded earlier this year to Activate, a joint venture between John Holland and Coleman Rail.
More information on the project can be found at www.regionalraillink.vic.gov.au