The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has awarded a $23 million contract to Golder Associates to undertake geotechnical studies for the Gowrie to Kagaru section of the Inland Rail project.
The geotechnical studies will be used to guide strategic planning, assessments and engineering solutions to optimise designs for the 8.5 kilometres of tunnels to be built through the Toowoomba, Teviot and Liverpool ranges.
The works will also include drilling the deepest borehole for the project in Queensland—estimated to be 280 metres—to gather the necessary rock and earth samples.
Federal infrastructure and transport minister Michael McCormack said the works would provide vital information for the companies preparing bids to win the public private partnership (PPP) contract for the Gowrie to Kagaru section.
“Awarding this $23 million contract will help to generate the best possible design solution for this critically important but ground-breaking segment of the Inland Rail,” Michael McCormack said.
“The Inland Rail is a nation-building project which will still be operating and delivering economic and community benefits a century from now, which is why we are working purposefully to ensure we optimise the design and construction.
“An estimated $10 per tonne freight saving, with faster and more efficient movement of farm produce from paddock to cities, is just one of the many exciting benefits of the Inland Rail which this government is delivering.”
Finance minister Mathias Cormann said the geotechnical work would be vital to ensure double-stacked trains would be able to operate on the rail line through the ranges west of Brisbane.
“This geotechnical work will provide the vitally important technical information needed to build the 6.4km tunnel under the Great Dividing Range which will be an engineering feat driven by government and industry collaboration,” Cormann said.
“Inland Rail will create over 7000 direct and indirect jobs here in Queensland and contribute $7 billion to the Gross State Product so it’s critical we get it right and that’s something this Government knows is important to the local community.”