John Holland has secured a $324 million contract to undertake the early works package on the Melbourne Metro project. In a media release distributed this morning, the Premier said "Next year, the face of our City will change as we dig 11 storeys below the CBD, and pave the way for Melbourne's new Metro Tunnel and five new underground stations."
The early works contract will involve the relocation and protection of up to 100 utilities, including gas, power and telecommunications services, and the 120 year old brick main sewer line under the Domain interchange.
Moreover, the contract will also include the excavation of three shafts in the CBD: two located in the north of the city on Franklin and A'Beckett Streets and one at City Square. The shafts are required for access to allow the excavation of the station pits which will be located under Swanston Street between La Trobe and Franklin in the north and between Flinders and Collins in the south.
The shafts will be up to 35 metres in depth and involve the excavation of 34 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of soil and rock from beneath the heart of the city.
Early works construction will kick off next year.
New South Wales treasurer Gladys Berejiklian delivered the state's budget yesterday with very similar themes to the Victorian budget released in April: solid surplus thanks to strong property markets in both capitals and enormous rail investments.
One of the key infrastructure messages Berejiklian delivered was that the Sydney Metro North West and City and South West are now fully funded through the forward estimates, just like how Tim Pallas announced that Melbourne Metro was now fully funded.
Regardless of who has the largest public transport project in the country, one thing is for sure: there's an extraordinarily large amount of dollars being funneled into rail projects around the country, perhaps at levels not seen in a century.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of rail projects this author could think of with the associated committed funds value (or estimated costs, where applicable).
In Victoria: the ongoing level crossing removals ($5-6 billion, mostly committed), Mernda rail extension ($600 million, funded in budget), Hurstbridge line capacity expansion ($140 million, funded in budget), Ballarat line capacity expansion works ($500 million, funded in budget), Melbourne Metro ($11 billion, funded in budget), HMCT & new stabling/maintenance yards in Pakenham East ($1.3 billion, out to tender).
In New South Wales: Sydney Metro North West ($8.3 billion, funded in budget), Sydney Metro City & South West ($10-11 billion estimated), Sydney Trains new rolling stock ($1 billion, funded in budget) and three new light rail lines.
In South Australia: Ongoing Adelaide rail network electrification (cost varies)
In Western Australia: Forrestfield-Airport Rail Link ($2 billion, funded).
In Queensland: Cross-river rail ($5.4 billion, business case just released), Moreton Bay Rail Link ($1.15 billion).
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments section.