The preferred bidder for the removal of four level crossings in Melbourne has formally signed a $481.2 million contract with the state government.
In June, the Andrews Government named the consortium of Leighton Contractors, Aurecon and Hyder Consulting as preferred bidder for level crossing removals at Heatherdale Road in Mitcham, Blackburn Road in Blackburn, and Main and Furlong Roads in St Albans.
Andrews announced on Tuesday the contract for that work had been finalised with the alliance. Works on two of the four crossings will begin within weeks.
“These level crossings have already claimed lives, and continued to put lives at risk,” Andrews said. “They have to go and we’re getting on with it, finalising the contract so work can begin.”
The $481.2 million contract will see work begin at Main and Furlong Roads in October. That work should be completed in 2017.
The removal of the Blackburn Road and Heatherdale Road level crossings will start later this year and will take 12-18 months to complete, Andrews explained.
The contract is the second four-crossing deal to be formalised so far in the Andrews Government’s drive to remove 50 of the state’s ‘worst’ level crossings over the next eight years.
Major construction began in July at Burke Road in Glen Iris – the first of four level crossings to be removed under the first contract. Held by a consortium of John Holland and KBR, that deal will also see the removal of crossings at Centre Road in Bentleigh, North Road in Ormond, and McKinnon Road in McKinnon.
The biggest deal so far in the removal program, for seven level crossings along the Cranbourne-Pakenham line, is currently up for grabs. Two groups are shortlisted for the deal, each of which features businesses that are already handling one of the two four-crossing deals:
- the consortium of John Holland, Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), McConnell Dowell Constructors and Jacobs (known as the Excelerate consortium)
- the consortium of Lend Lease Engineering, Leighton Contractors, Aurecon Australia and Parsons Brinckerhoff Australia
A major part of the funding for the level crossing removal program is to come from the proposed sale of the Port of Melbourne, which is being challenged by the state Opposition in Parliament.
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas implored all parties to approve legislation to sell the port.
“Leasing the port means we can create thousands of jobs, get Victorians home safer and sooner and still protect our AAA credit rating,” Pallas said.