METRONET is forging ahead in 2021, with millions of dollars worth of contracts awarded and three projects now moving into the major construction procurement shortlist phase.

The main construction contract for the Byford Rail Extension, the removal of three level crossings through Victoria Park and the construction of a new Midland Station, are all moving into the procurement shortlist phase, with contracts for the three projects to be awarded later in 2021.

Byford Rail Extension underway

Western Australian Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, said early works on the METRONET Byford Rail Extension are already underway with the removal of the Thomas Road level crossing.

“The removal of the Oats Street level crossing and the construction of the new Midland Station were both key McGowan Government election commitments – due to our successful negotiations with the Commonwealth, we have been able to remove additional level crossings at Mint Street in Victoria Park and Welshpool Road.”

While early works on the Thomas Road level crossing removal continue, two alliances have been shortlisted to design and build METRONET’s Byford Rail Extension project, which will add 8km to the Armadale Line, extending it to Byford with a new station about 400m north of Abernethy Road.

Following a Request for Proposal, the Byford Alliance (Downer EDI Works, CPB Contractors Aurecon Australasia, and CareyMC) and MetCONNX Alliance (Laing O’Rourke Australia Construction, Pritchard Francis Consulting, and Kellogg Brown & Root) will now progress to the competitive bid phase, where they will be asked to show how they will deliver the project.

The alliances will also provide additional priced options to potentially expand the project scope and include an elevated rail component, following requests from the City of Armadale and Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.

The final scope of the Byford Rail Extension will be subject to stakeholder engagement, price and available funding with the major construction contract to be awarded later in 2021.

Eliminating Victoria Park’s dangerous level crossings

The removal of dangerous level crossings through Victoria Park is also a step closer with two alliances shortlisted for the main construction works at three sites. 

This METRONET project could see up to six level crossings removed – Mint Street, Oats Street, Welshpool Road, as well as Hamilton Street, Wharf Street and William Street, with the contractor asked to price all six removals.

Following an expression of interest period, the Armadale Line Upgrade Alliance (Acciona/Coleman Rail, BMD Constructions, WSP Australia, and AECOM Australia) and Elevate Alliance (Downer EDI Works, CPB Contractors, GHD, Aurecon Australasia, and CareyMC) will progress to the competitive bid phase, where they will show how they will deliver the Mint Street, Oats Street and Welshpool Road removals via an elevated rail solution, while also offering a priced option for the Hamilton, Wharf and William streets package.

The removal of the three additional level crossings will be subject to further funding discussions.  

The Mint Street-Oats Street-Welshpool Road contract is expected to be awarded later in 2021.

New Midland station on track

Two proponents have been shortlisted to prepare detailed proposals to design and build Midland’s new train station and associated infrastructure – Transform Midland Alliance (Downer EDI Works, SMEC Australia) and Midland Junction Alliance (McConnell Dowell Constructors, Georgiou Group, Arcadis Australia, and BG&E).

The two proponents now progress to the competitive bid phase which will include the design and construction of a new station between Helena and Cale streets and the decommissioning and demolishing of the existing 52-year-old train station.

Along with a 12-stand bus interchange and multi-storey car park with more than 600 parking bays, the new three-platform station will include a north-south pedestrian overpass, universal access, passenger toilets, lifts and stairs, kiosk and about 100 secure bike parks.

The alliance contract is expected to be awarded in mid-2021.

Contracts awarded locally

Australian company InfraBuild, is currently manufacturing steel reinforcing cages for piling on the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extension at their new Forrestfield facility.

Close to 8,500 tonnes of steel will be used for steel reinforcement, with a further contract worth $11.8 million which has now been awarded by NEWest Alliance, builder of the Thornlie Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extension, to InfraBuild.

About 70 people are currently employed at the Forrestfield facility. Works associated with METRONET have enabled InfraBuild to employ 13 additional staff since November 2020.

On top of the long-term jobs created by bringing railcar manufacturing back to Western Australia, a number of local suppliers have been awarded contracts in the project stage, supporting jobs during WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery including:

  • Australian company McConnell, who will establish a dedicated facility in WA to manufacture railcar passenger seats ($15.3 million contract)
  • Aerison, a WA company with fabrication facilities at Bentley and Henderson, to provide cab structures ($1.9 million contract) and battery boxes ($1.1 million contract)
  • Knorr-Bremse, air-conditioning and air supply equipment ($18.7 million contract) and brake components ($27 million contract)
  • Pyrotech, will be supplying floor panels ($5.3 million contract) Austbreck, will be supplying pantographs ($2 million contract)

This is in addition to contracts already awarded on the project, including:

  • Hofmann Engineering delivering bogie frames ($18 million contract)
  • Four cranes supplied by Bassendean-based Eilbeck Cranes ($850,000 contract)
  • Vossloh manufacturing rail switches for the Bellevue rail yard at their Kewdale facility ($12 million contract)
  • Vector Lifting, based in Cockburn delivering bogie turntables and lifting jacks ($3.8 million contract)

So far, 27 trainees have been offered employment opportunities on civil construction projects, including METRONET, since completing the ‘Infrastructure Ready’ TAFE course introduced by the McGowan Government.

METRONET key in economic recovery, government says

Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, said, “METRONET is the biggest ever investment in our public transport network – it will connect our suburbs and create thousands of local jobs.

“With nine METRONET projects now under construction, and several more in the procurement phase, we are making sure there are opportunities for local businesses, while we build the public transport infrastructure for tomorrow across Western Australia.

“Our new $46 million METRONET Bellevue Railcar Manufacturing Facility continues to progress rapidly, with Alstom to begin the final fit out in coming weeks.

“As our economy continues to emerge from COVID-19, it is more important than ever we continue to deliver local content on our major projects.”

“Through METRONET, we are not just bringing manufacturing and fabrication jobs back to WA. Our procurement strategy is also attracting east coast businesses to move work to WA,” Ms Saffioti said.

“We are making sure our own workers have the skills needed to deliver this work by investing in training courses such as the Infrastructure Ready TAFE course.

“We’ve made a commitment to maximise the amount of local businesses who can to build both METRONET railcars and the other major projects taking place all across WA, and we’re delivering on that promise.”

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