From major contracts awarded to route selections, big steps have been taken by the Australian, State and Territory Governments towards improving our roads and transports systems in 2017. Before the start of 2018, which is shaping up to be a massive year for Australian infrastructure, we’ve looked back on the top stories from 2017.
The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail continued to make headway with almost $30 million in contracts awarded to four companies for feasibility and detailed design work on the nationally significant project. Two contracts were awarded for feasibility design work, which examines issues such as bridge verse culvert or overbridge verse underbridge, to arrive at a preferred solution.
Transurban and the Victorian Government selected two contractors to deliver the multi-billion dollar West Gate Tunnel project, which will wide the West Gate Freeway from eight lanes to 12 between the M80 Ring Road and Williamstown Road. The project also includes a 2.8km eastbound tunnel and four kilometre westbound tunnel under Yarraville, a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River, and an elevated road along Footscray Road to the Port of Melbourne, CityLink and the city’s north.
The preferred route for the Narromine to Narrabri section of the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project was selected following community consultation and extensive engineering reports. The preferred study corridor will be taken forward through the NSW Government’s planning and approvals process, which will culminate in ARTC preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.
A joint venture was awarded the contract to revitalise more than 1000km of Victoria’s rail freight network. The upgrade will standardise and upgrade the track from broad gauge to standard gauge, increase axle loading from 19 tonnes to 21 tonnes on the network apart from the Ouyen to Murrayville line, and begin work to reopen the 87km rail line between Maryborough and Ararat. The upgrade will allow the Murray Basin region to increase exports to Victoria’s major ports in Portland, Geelong and Melbourne.
The preferred route of the NSW Beaches Link and the Western Harbour Tunnel was chosen and geotechnical drilling begun in early 2017. The Beaches Link tunnel will connect the Warringah Freeway, cross underneath Middle Harbour connecting with the Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation at Balgowlah and upgrade the Wakehurst Parkway to two lanes each way, between Seaforth and Frenchs Forest.