The Victorian Government has announced its preferred bidder for the first tunnelling contract on the Suburban Rail Loop East (SRL) which will see tunnel boring machines (TBMs) being launched in 2026, creating thousands of job opportunities. 

A 16km section of twin tunnels between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley will be constructed by Suburban Connect, a consortium of global leaders in tunnelling including CPB Contractors, Ghella and Acciona Construction, boasting extensive experience in Victoria and Australia. 

SRL East is set to create up to 8,000 direct jobs and deliver six new underground stations between Cheltenham and Box Hill – slashing travel times, congestion and connecting people to key employment, health and education destinations in Melbourne’s east and south east.

Deputy Premier of Victoria and Minister for the Suburban Rail Loop, Jacinta Allan, inspected the early works of the construction site, where the site is being prepared to launch the tunnel boring machines. 

“We promised Victorians we’d get on with building the Suburban Rail Loop and that’s exactly what we’re doing – this first major works contract is a major step towards tunnel boring machines being in the ground by 2026,” Ms Allan said. 

“SRL will not only transform our public transport network, it’ll reshape how Melbourne grows in the decades ahead – taking thousands of cars off roads, delivering 24,000 jobs across the life of the project and boosting hundreds of small local businesses.

“We need to boost housing choice and affordability in established areas, which is why our SRL Precincts have been so carefully selected – they are places with easy connections to existing transport and have enormous potential for high quality jobs.”

Ten TBMs will be used to dig the total 26km of tunnels, launching from Monash, Burwood and Heatherton, with a second contract to be awarded next year for the tunnelling between Glen Waverley and Box Hill.

Local residents, businesses and stakeholders are invited to have their say in the coming weeks, before detailed draft Precinct Visions for each of the six station areas at Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill are released for further community input later this year.

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