The Victorian Government has opened Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for contractors to deliver the second stage of the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds rail upgrade.
The project is expected to create local jobs in Victoria’s south-west and deliver more frequent and reliable train services for South Geelong, Marshall and Waurn Ponds passengers.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, and Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said the vital project is part of more than $1 billion investment in rail upgrades between Geelong and Waurn Ponds.
“It is exciting to see this important project out to market, bringing us one step closer to delivering critical upgrades to boost the number of train services on the Geelong Line and help create jobs,” Mr McCormack said.
“Geelong’s population is expected to grow by almost 50 per cent in the next 30 years and the Geelong Line is the busiest line on the regional network with patronage nearly doubling since 2009.
“This project will help meet the needs of this growing city.”
Ms Allan said the project would duplicate eight kilometres of track and upgrade signalling from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds to allow trains to pass each other and deliver more frequent and reliable services.
Level crossing removals at Fyans Street and Surf Coast Highway are a key part of the project, helping to reduce congestion and improve safety for the more than 70 trains and approximately 36,000 vehicles currently using the busy crossings each day.
“This project will provide significant benefits for passengers along our state’s busiest regional rail line – delivering five trains every hour at peak times for South Geelong, Marshall and Waurn Ponds commuters,” Ms Allan said.
“Removing these congested level crossings is a huge win for the community – it means less time waiting at boom gates and increased safety for road users, as well as an opportunity to improve the surrounding area with shared user paths, landscaping and other community amenity.”
Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson, said work was progressing on the Waurn Ponds Station upgrade as part of the first stage of investment on the Geelong Line.
“Construction will begin in the coming weeks on the new platform, track duplication and accessible overpass to allow more services to be extended to and from Waurn Ponds,” Senator Henderson said.
“The project has already provided opportunities for local businesses, with Norris Construction Group and R Slater and Sons involved in the early works.”
Victorian Member for Geelong, Christine Couzens, said passengers at South Geelong and Marshall stations can look forward to upgraded facilities including new second platforms and accessible overpasses.
“In addition to upgraded station facilities, this project will include a business case for Stage 3 to upgrade the 400m-long rail tunnel between Geelong and South Geelong – to deliver more train services and greater frequency as part of a future stage of this vital project,” Ms Couzens said.
Victorian Member for South Barwon, Darren Cheeseman, said the project would draw on feedback from local businesses and residents to inform its design.
“We’re looking forward to engaging with the community as we design the project to make sure it delivers for a growing Geelong community, ahead of construction kicking off in 2022,” Mr Cheeseman said.
The Waurn Ponds Station upgrade and South Geelong to Waurn Ponds works are part of a staged program of improvements to upgrade the Geelong Line, which also includes a stabling facility at Waurn Ponds.
The Federal and Victorian governments have invested more than $4 billion in upgrades to every regional passenger rail line in Victoria and creating more than 3,000 jobs and local supplier opportunities.
The two governments have also each committed $2 billion to Stage 1 of the Geelong Fast Rail project, which will cut travel times between Geelong and Melbourne by up to 15 minutes.
Expressions of Interest for the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds Stage 2 close in March 2021.
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