AN important milestone has been reached on the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing project after Nexus was last week announced as the preferred tenderer to deliver the $1.6 billion road project.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the announcement marks a key step in the project's procurement.
"The selection of Nexus is a result of the Australian and Queensland governments' drive to attract world class expertise and innovation to deliver infrastructure with significant benefits to the regional, state and national economies," Mr Truss said.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the announcement was another significant step towards the project becoming a reality and the creation of hundreds of jobs.
"This project is expected to support more than 1,800 full-time equivalent jobs during the three-and-a-half year construction phase. The lifestyle and economic benefits this project will deliver to the Darling Downs region and Queensland are significant and will be welcomed by all Queenslanders," Mr Pitt said.
Queensland Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Mark Bailey said the selection of Nexus as the preferred tenderer was the result of an extensive and rigorous evaluation of the three shortlisted proposals.
"These were highly competitive and innovative proposals to deliver value for money outcomes through design enhancements for the construction and operation and maintenance of the road," Mr Bailey said.
Key features of Nexus' proposed design solution include:
- Four lanes (two lanes each way) from Warrego Highway East Interchange at Helidon to Warrego Highway West;
- Grade separated interchanges at Warrego Highway West, Toowoomba-Cecil Plains Road and Gore Highway;
- A separated connection to Mort Street;
- A 30-metre cutting at the top of the Range as an alternative to the tunnel solution as detailed in the reference design;
- An 800-metre viaduct built over the existing Queensland Rail line; and
- Continuity of the New England Highway through a new bridge over the cutting.
The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing will be a toll road with tolling arrangements to be finalised closer to the road's official opening, which is expected in late 2018.
The Nexus consortium will now work with the Queensland Government to finalise contractual documentation. Construction is expected to begin in late 2015.
The Australian Government has committed up to $1.285 billion to fund the project and the Queensland Government has committed $321 million.