THE Victorian Government last week announced the start of enabling works on the $10.9 billion Metro Tunnel project, which will help to pave the way for the construction of the 9-kilometre rail link between South Kensington and South Yarra.
The works form part of the Metro Tunnel early works contract – the first package of works on the project – which was awarded to John Holland in June.
Work has now started on the relocation and protection of up to 100 services under the $324 million contract, which also includes the excavation of 11-storey deep shafts next to Swanston Street to enable the construction of the two new city stations.
The station shafts, due to begin early next year, will be up to 35 metres deep and involve the excavation of 34 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of soil and rock from beneath the city.
The next stage of the tender process on the biggest works package – the $6 billion Metro Tunnel and Stations PPP – has also been reached, with the Request for Proposal now released to the three shortlisted bidders.
The Metro Tunnel will expand the City Loop and help to provide major improvements in capacity, reliability and efficiency of train lines serving Melbourne's growth areas in the north, west and south-east.
The project will connect the Sunbury and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines for the first time, creating a new end-to-end train line through the inner city. It includes five new inner city stations at Arden, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain.
The project is expected to be completed and operational in 2026.