A $518 million upgrade of Victoria’s Ballarat line will begin early next year, with the Andrews Government releasing its Request for Proposal to deliver the work on March 1.
The contract will duplicate a 17-kilometre section of single track between Deer Park West and Melton, paving the way for future electrification of the Ballarat line to Melton.
It also covers the duplication of three kilometres of track east of Warrenheip, new crossing loops and train stabling at Melton and Rowsley, and the construction of second platforms at Bacchus Marsh and Ballan stations.
Existing platforms at Rockbank station will also be extended so passengers can use each carriage to get on or off the train.
The project has been fully funded with a $518 million allocation in the 2016/17 State Budget.
Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) is directing procurement and delivery.
The winning bidder will be responsible for design and construction of track duplications and passing loops, new platforms and associated station improvements and infrastructure, construction of stabling roads and signalling upgrades.
“In response to this RFP, MMRA is seeking high quality Initial Proposals, including an Initial Target Outturn Cost that provides value for money, such that a single Preferred Proponent can be selected to participate in the Final Proposal Phase,” the Tenders Victoria posting reads.
Public transport minister Jacinta Allan said the project will create space for more trains to run more often on the Ballarat line.
“This half-a-billion-dollar project will give the people of Ballarat, Melton and Melbourne’s west the services they deserve,” she said.
“It’s the biggest rail project in regional Victoria, and we want the best in business to build it.”
Allan said the upgrade will start early next year, with the project to be complete by late 2019.