Infrastructure Australia has promoted the Sydney Metro City & Southwest project to its High Priority Project list.
The list, which was updated on July 24, now has eight High Priority Projects, and twelve Priority Projects, along with dozens of other projects with less-progressed, “initiative” ratings.
Sydney Metro City & Southwest is the second phase of the Sydney Metro project. It will extend the Sydney Metro Northwest rail line from Chatswood to Bankstown, via new stations on the lower North Shore and the CBD.
The project’s business case, evaluated by Infrastructure Australia, calculated a benefit-cost ratio of 1.3 (i.e. $1.30 of economic returns for every $1 invested). When wider economic ‘city shaping’ benefits are also included, the project’s BCR increases to 1.7.
“Sydney Metro City & Southwest is an important step in ensuring that Sydney remains a competitive, global city and an attractive place to live and work,” Infrastructure Australia chief executive Philip Davies said.
“The strategic merit of this project lies not just in its ability to increase Sydney’s productivity and rail network capacity but its potential to reshape the urban profile of the city. The project will enable higher density residential development along the rail corridor; providing more direct and rapid connections between where people live and work.”
Davies said the positive assessment of the project’s business case reflects it is a “sound” investment for Sydney.
The Infrastructure Australia business case says the project is necessary to stop Sydney’s CBD rail network from extreme overcapacity.
“The rail network servicing Sydney’s CBD is currently near capacity at peak periods, and some key routes are expected to reach capacity in the early 2020s,” the business case says. “By 2036, demand is expected to exceed network capacity, causing material impacts on service accessibility, dwell times, and crowding on stations and trains.”
The business case says the complexity of Sydney’s rail network around the CBD constrains the utilisation of individual lines, and complicates operations.
“Transport for NSW is addressing operational constraints through timetabling changes where possible, and a medium-term plan to further untangle parts of the network,” the business case says.
“However, in spite of these operational improvements, the capacity of the rail network will remain constrained.”
A consortium of John Holland, CPB Contractors and Ghella won the NSW Government’s $2.81 billion tunnelling contract for the second stage of the Sydney Metro urban rail project in June.
The contract is one of seven major contracts to make up the project, which is expected to cost between $11.5 billion and $12.5 billion in total.