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The South Australian Government is establishing a specialised infrastructure unit for the final 10.5km stretch of the North-South Corridor – the biggest infrastructure project in the state’s history.

The state government is engaging tunnelling experts as well as the unit to explore options for the River Torrens to Darlington section of the North-South Corridor.

In 2018, the South Australian Government announced that tunnelling formed part of two of the three solutions being assessed.

After receiving the initial business case, and on advice from Infrastructure SA, the state government will action the following:

  • Establish a Program Management Office (PMO) within DPTI to ensure appropriate governance is in place for the planning and delivery of a project of this scale
  • Engage a team of planning, technical and tunnelling experts to undertake geotechnical and hydrogeology investigation works
  • Conduct heritage and environmental impact studies
  • Conduct further investigations with service authorities to map services.

SA Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Stephan Knoll, said, “The final 10.5km stretch of the North-South Corridor between the River Torrens and Darlington will be the single biggest infrastructure project in South Australia’s history.

“Importantly, this project will underpin thousands of construction jobs for around the next decade.

“The Marshall and Morrison Governments already have $5.4 billion on the table to complete this final piece of the North-South Corridor puzzle, including $252 million over the next four years for planning and early works.    

Mr Knoll said the initial business case, in conjunction with advice from Infrastructure SA, was what prompted the government to undertake more planning and geotechnical work to further assess tunnelling.

“Governments have a responsibility to spend taxpayers’ money wisely and that’s why we are taking the time to gather the necessary information before deciding how to spend billions of taxpayer dollars,” he said.

“Tunnels of the magnitude we are looking at are extremely complex and that’s why we need to do the geotechnical and hydrogeology investigation works.

“We need to take a look under the surface to ensure we understand what soil types and geology we are dealing with.

“As soon as planning works have sufficiently progressed, we will be working with local communities, relevant industry and other stakeholders.”

Mr Knoll said this project will extend the South Australian Government’s four-year $12.9 billion infrastructure pipeline over the next decade.

SMEC, WSP and Tunnelling Solutions will map out the test locations, depths, sampling and testing requirements to progress the planning of the options.

This work will inform a tender call for companies in 2020 to undertake the investigation work for more detailed planning to progress any of the three options.

In addition, a PMO will be established in early 2020 to ensure appropriate governance for the planning and delivery of the project.

Interim arrangements will be in place until a Program Director is appointed in early 2020.

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