Geotechnical drilling begins on Melbourne Airport Link

Tullamarine Melbourne Airport Rail Link geotechnical drilling soil sample

Soil testing is underway on the Melbourne Airport Rail Link, marking the latest stage of preparatory work on the project.

The purpose of geotechnical drilling is to help inform the Business Case for the project, which is designed to boost connectivity between Melbourne and the regions.

Geotechnical investigations are used to establish ground conditions and soil quality, and involve drilling boreholes up to 25cm in diameter and 45m deep to collect soil and rock samples.

Rail Projects Victoria, which will oversee delivery of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL), is assessing ground conditions across several locations to enable detailed planning.

These investigations are being conducted at six sites around the M80 Ring Road in Tullamarine and near the Maribyrnong River to guide further planning of the preferred Sunshine route. Each investigation takes around two weeks to complete.

The works will inform the design of the new rail line and how it will be built, with a further phase of testing to occur later this year.

The investigations are a crucial element of the full Business Case process, which is assessing design options for the long-awaited rail link to Melbourne Airport.

Expert technical advisors started initial environmental investigations in late 2018, with ecological surveys to identify any protected flora and fauna.

Construction of Melbourne Airport Rail Link is scheduled to start in 2022, subject to required approvals. Construction is expected to take up to nine years.

The Victorian Government has committed up to $5 billion to build the project, which will run from the CBD to Melbourne Airport via Sunshine and form the north-western section of the Suburban Rail Loop. The Federal Government has also committed funding to the Link.

The total cost of the project will be determined in the full Business Case and is estimated in the range of $8-$13 billion.

Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said, “We’ve made sure the Airport Rail Link will benefit all Victorians – delivering a new super-hub at Sunshine and paving the way for fast rail to the regions.”

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