Engineering, Passenger Rail, Rail Supply, Safety, Standards & Regulation, Signalling & Communications

Key players to duke it out for major crossing removal tender

Cranbourne Line. Photo: Creative Commons

John Holland and Leighton Contractors, each already part of their own four-crossing removal contract in Victoria, are pitted against each other in the bidding for the next contract, which will remove nine more crossings and rebuild four stations.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday announced a pair of consortia had made the shortlist for the contract to remove the nine level crossings on Melbourne’s Cranbourne-Pakenham line, and to rebuild four stations:

  • 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

The contract is the third major level crossing tender announced by the Andrews Government since it came to power in 2014. Part of a scheme to remove 50 of the state’s most dangerous crossings over the next eight years, the government has doled out contracts first for two packages of four crossings, and is now preparing to select a contractor for the biggest contract so far.

And while not incredibly surprising, it is interesting to note that key players from each of the shortlisted consortia are each responsible for one of the four-crossing contracts already handed out.

A consortium of John Holland and KBR was picked in May to remove the first four level crossings, at Centre Road in Bentleigh, North Road in Ormond, McKinnon Road in McKinnon and Burke Road in Glen Iris.

A consortium of Leighton Contractors, Aurecon and Hyder Consulting was selected as the preferred contractor to design and construct level crossing removals at Heatherdale Road in Mitcham, Blackburn Road in Blackburn, and Main and Furlong Roads in St Albans.

And now John Holland and KBR, and Leighton Contractors and Aurecon, are pitted against each other for the contract which appears to be the most valuable so far.

The package will remove all nine level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong, rebuild four stations at Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Clayton and Hughesdale, and roll out significant power and signalling upgrades, the Government said.

“These nine level crossings are crippling local roads, slowing down trains and putting lives at risk,” Acting Premier James Merlino said.

“Announcing the shortlist brings us closer to starting work and getting rid of these congested death traps on our busiest rail line once and for all.”

As part of the process, each proponent will be required to demonstrate adherence to significant local content targets, including the use of local steel, and a workforce comprising of 10% apprentice-based employees, he said.

Transport minister Jacinta Allan said the level crossing removal along this specific line is part of a targeted program to improve service on the corridor, which is Melbourne’s busiest.

Together with signalling upgrades and 37 new high capacity trains (Expressions of Interest sent out last week), the level crossing removals are hoped to increase capacity on the line by 42%.

“Removing every level crossing on our busiest line is critical for our train system and our economy,” Allan said, “unlocking major economic centres in the south east and supporting thousands of local jobs.”

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