Shortlisted groups announced for Brisbane's Cross River Rail project

THE Queensland Government last week announced the shortlisted groups for the two major works packages of Brisbane's Cross River Rail project, following a comprehensive evaluation by the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority of the Expressions of Interest received.

At an estimated cost of delivery of $5.4 billion, Cross River Rail will deliver a new 10.2-kilometre rail line between Dutton Park and Bowen Hills, with 5.9 kilometres of tunnel under the Brisbane River and the CBD. The two works packages consist of the Tunnel, Stations and Development (TSD) public-private partnership and the Rail, Integration and Systems (RIS) alliance.

Artist's impression of Woolloongabba Station
Above: Artist's impression of Woolloongabba Station / Queensland Government.

The project includes four new underground stations at Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street and Roma Street, and two upgraded surface stations at Dutton Park and Exhibition. Cross River Rail is expected to double capacity of the rail network across the Brisbane River and through the CBD from the south.

"Cross River Rail is a transformational project that will unlock the bottleneck at the core of our transport network and increase its capacity to deliver 'turn-up-and-go' public transport," Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said.

"Shortlisted companies will now be required to prepare detailed bids that demonstrate innovation and offer Queenslanders the highest possible value for money. Once the assessment process is complete, the consortia selected from these shortlists will be building this project."

The shortlisted groups for the Tunnel, Stations and Development (TSD) public-private partnership are:

  • Pulse - CIMIC Group-led consortium, including Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, UGL, BAM, Ghella and DIF;
  • Qonnect - QIC, Capella Capital, Lendlease, John Holland and Bouygues; and
  • CentriQ Partnerships - Plenary Group, ACCIONA, GS Engineering & Construction, Salini Impregilo and Spotless Group.

The shortlisted groups for the Rail, Integration and Systems (RIS) alliance are:

  • River City Alliance - Laing O'Rourke Australia Construction Pty Limited, GHD Pty Ltd, Aurecon Australasia Pty Ltd, SYSTRA Scott Lister Australia Pty Ltd; and
  • Unity Alliance - CPB Contractors Pty Limited, UGL Engineering Pty Limited, Jacobs Group (Australia) Pty Ltd, AECOM Australia Pty Ltd.
Map of proposed alignment of Cross River Rail
Above: Map of proposed alignment of Cross River Rail (click to enlarge).

In July last year, Infrastructure Australia finalised its independent evaluation of the Queensland Government's current business case for Cross River Rail and concluded that the benefits of the proposed project are overstated and likely to be outweighed by the costs.

"We have reached the conclusion that the benefits of the proposed project, as set out in the business case, are significantly overstated, and that the costs of the project as currently presented are likely to exceed its benefits," Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Philip Davies said at the time.

The Queensland Government released an updated business case in August 2017, which it said incorporated the latest information on the impact of policy and demographic changes over the last 12 months. According to the updated business case, the benefit-cost ratio increased to 1.41, up from 1.21 in the 2016 Business Case, which translates to a $1.41 return for every $1 invested in the project.

The successful proponents are expected to be announced within the next 12 to 18 months. Cross River Rail is scheduled to be operational in 2024.

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