Preferred proponent announced for Morley-Ellenbrook line construction

The Western Australian government has selected the preferred proponent for the design and construction of the Morley-Ellenbrook line.

Led by Laing O’Rouke Australia Construction, the winning consortium, MELconnx won out over a joint venture between CPB Contractors and Downer EDI as the preferred proponent for the design, building, and commissioning of the new 21km line and five stations.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the line would ensure that Perth’s transport system kept up with urban growth.

“Perth’s north-eastern suburbs have boomed recently and the population is predicted to increase dramatically over the next decade,” she said.

“We need to ensure our infrastructure keeps up with this growth – not only are we delivering on the much anticipated Metronet Morley-Ellenbrook Line, we have also delivered key road upgrades including Northlink, the duplication of Reid Highway and the upgrade of Drumpellier Drive.”

The rail construction contract is one of four works packages that make up the project. Other packages include the new Bayswater station, works on the Tonkin Gap highway, which the new rail line will run down the middle of, and forward works.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the project would benefit the communities it serves and the WA economy.

“This has been talked about for decades and is a big step forward for this project, which will transform Perth’s growing north-eastern suburbs and benefit the local and surrounding communities,” he said.

“Now more than ever, big infrastructure projects like Metronet’s Morley-Ellenbrook Line are imperative to WA’s COVID-19 economic recovery as it creates a pipeline of work and supports thousands of jobs.”

The Morley-Ellenbrook line is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and Federal Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure Alan Tudge said the benefits would be immediate and long-lasting.

“It means jobs right now and critical, targeted infrastructure for generations to come.”

The announcement of the preferred proponent for the Morley-Ellenbrook line closes out the new rail projects that are currently part of the Metronet program. Further contracts are expected to be announced for level crossing removals on the Armadale Line and the electrification of the Armadale Line to Byford.

TBM Sandy breaks through at Bayswater

Tunnelling is complete on the Forrestfield-Airport Link, part of the Metronet project in Western Australia.

On April 20, tunnel boring machine Sandy broke through at the Bayswater dive structure. WA Premier Mark McGowan said that the completion of tunnelling is a “major milestone” for WA.

“While Western Australia has been grappling with COVID-19, TBM Sandy and the project team have been continuing to work on this incredible project for Perth.”

The breakthrough ended 900 days of tunnelling under Perth Airport and the Swan River, creating 16 kilometres of tunnels, two twin 8km tunnels.

Now that tunnelling is finished, track will start to be laid from July 2020. The track slab is half installed while construction and fit out of the station buildings continues.

“In times like these it’s important we continue to progress projects that will provide work for local businesses and keep workers in their jobs, ultimately supporting the State’s wider economy,” said McGowan.

The tunnels, made with 9,000 tunnel rings comprising 54,000 locally made concrete segments, link three stations, Forrestfield, Airport Central, and Redcliffe to the wider rail network.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti thanked those who have worked on the project so far.

“In July 2017, Premier Mark McGowan and I were at the Forrestfield Station site to mark the start of tunnelling on the Forrestfield-Airport Link,” she said.

“Thank you to the tunnelling team and other workers who delivered TBM Sandy to her destination and helped achieved this major milestone.”

The $1.86bn Forrestfield-Airport Link provides over 700 jobs in Western Australia, and is one of six Metronet projects underway in 2020.

The tunnelling for the Forrestfield-Airport Link was conducted by a joint venture of Salini Impregilo and NRW Civil and Mining which won the design and construct contract, along with a 10 year maintenance contract, in April 2016.

Contractor announced for Bayswater Station construction

The preferred proponent for the construction of the Bayswater Station is Evolve Bayswater Alliance, Coleman Rail.

The $253 million contract, awarded by the Western Australia government as part of the Metronet project, covers the building of the station, precinct works, new platforms, and rail infrastructure. The Bayswater station serves as a crucial linking point between the Midland Line to the future Forrestfield-Airport Link and the Morley-Ellenbrook Line.

Once construction is complete on these new lines, more trains will run more often between Bayswater and Claremont, driving greater use of public transport in Perth, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“Bayswater is on track to becoming one of Perth’s best connected communities, with access to three rail lines and many bus services,” she said.

A rail turnback for Forrestfield-Airport Link operations will also be built.

“In times like these it’s important we continue to progress the projects that will provide work for local businesses and keep workers in their jobs. This will ultimately support the State’s wider economy,” said Saffioti.

The contract will involve staged construction of the two island platforms. The first will be constructed while the current line and station are still being used. When complete, trains will begin using this new platform while the old station is removed and a new platform is built for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line.

“Building this project, combined with construction of other nearby major projects like the Tonkin Gap and Morley-Ellenbrook Line, will help support the WA economy through some tough times ahead,” said Saffioti.

Utility and environmental works have already begun at Bayswater Station, as have improvements to Meltham and Ashfield stations, and the future station will improve the surrounding community, said Maylands MLA, Lisa Baker.

“Bayswater Station is more than just a public transport project – the wider Bayswater community will also benefit with new public spaces and more pedestrian-friendly streets around the station,” she said.

Metronet to unlock development precincts

The Metronet project in Perth will drive transport-oriented development, with project areas declared around the Bayswater and Forrestfield stations.

The project areas will allow for redevelopment and the construction of town-centres integrated with new train stations.

The two sites, as well as the Midland area, form the Metronet East projects, which through a redevelopment scheme will guide future development.

The Metronet East Redevelopment Scheme will be delivered by DevelopmentWA and is forecasted to be in effect by late 2020.

WA Planning and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that transport projects have the ability to extend beyond mobility.

“Metronet is creating more than just new train stations – it’s also creating well-connected, accessible community hubs which will service the needs of locals and visitors,” she said.

“We recognise certain station precincts have the potential to become major activity centres – we are putting the necessary planning frameworks in place to unlock that potential and encourage investment in new housing, services and jobs.”

The designation of these areas as project areas is hoped to ensure that transport upgrades lead to successful integration of businesses and residents in the surrounding areas.

“By bringing the Bayswater and Forrestfield station projects under Metronet East, we will attract much needed private investment to help transform these centres into authentic places where people want to live, work and visit,” said Saffioti.

Breakthrough on longest rail tunnel in WA

After two and a half years, the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) called Grace has reached the end of its eight-kilometre tunneling journey in Perth.

TBM Grace has broken through at Bayswater dive station, part of the Metronet’S Forrestfield-Airport Link project in Western Australia.

Two tunnels will house the $1.86 billion project’s rail lines and TBM Grace has now built the first tunnel from Forrestfield to Bayswater.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said this is a historic milestone for the state and a major engineering feat that hasn’t been seen before in WA. 

“Where once there was dirt, sand, rocks and tree roots, now sits the foundation for our new railway,” McGowan said.

Through her journey it has tunnelled underneath Perth Airport, Redcliffe Station and the Swan River, before reaching her final destination at Bayswater.

Walls of the twin tunnel were installed by TBM Grace using half of the 54,000 locally fabricated concrete segments.

Grace is the first TMB and will be dismantled and craned out of the dive structure in preparation for the arrival of TBM Sandy, who is a safe distance behind Grace.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the arrival of TBM Sandy in coming months will mark the completion of tunnelling.

“With the end of tunnelling in sight, work is continuing on important infrastructure components such as station construction and fit out and readying the tunnels for track laying,” Saffioti said.

“The precision engineering it has taken for this machine to tunnel eight kilometres, through varying and sometimes challenging soil types, to break through in exactly the right spot is truly remarkable.”

Tunnelling work is due to be completed in May.

Metronet is the biggest public transport project Perth has seen and trains are set to run on the new rail line in the second half of next year.

The rail link between eastern foothills, Perth Airport, and the CBD is expected to be a 20 minute trip.

Heritage tree relocated as part of METRONET works

An 80-year-old Kurrajong tree has been relocated to allow for construction at the Bayswater Station in Perth, part of the METRONET project.

The tree was moved to nearby Bert Wright Park, with the assistance of one crane, followed by a mobile crane which transported the tree to the nearby park. Residents were following the relocation closely, noted Marylands MLA, Lisa Baker.

“Preparation works for the tree relocation began in May 2019, when a trench was dug around the tree and its roots trimmed. Soil was then backfilled into the trench, and the tree was left for six months for careful monitoring over the winter,” she said.

“While residents were no doubt thrilled to witness the incredible sight of a massive tree being craned down one of their main streets, its relocation also marks an exciting new stage in the Bayswater Station Upgrade project.”

Moving the tree will allow for the station’s eastern entrance to be upgraded, to allow for better integration with the surrounding commercial centre and meet disability standards.

As part of the METRONET project, Bayswater will become a significant transport hub, located at the intersection of the Midland line, the Forrestfield-airport link, and the Morley-Ellenbrook line.

Once completed, the new Bayswater station will host six-car trains, be compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act, and have more connections to bus services. Additionally, the King William Street bridge will be raised by a metre to 4.8 metres, to avoid collisions with high vehicles and trucks, which frequently caused delays.

Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti, noted that the station’s new design incorporated the views of the local community.

“While residents were no doubt thrilled to witness the incredible sight of a massive tree being craned down one of their main streets, its relocation also marks an exciting new stage in the Bayswater Station Upgrade project,” she said.

“We know having properly integrated train stations and transport infrastructure can transform local communities in to buzzing hubs of retail, recreational and residential life.

Metronet’s environmental impact up for assessment

The environmental assessment process has begun for the Morley-Ellenbrook Line, according to WA transport minister Rita Saffioti.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has received the first of two environmental assessment submissions from the Public Transport Authority (PTA) on behalf of the state government.

“Metronet projects like the Morley-Ellenbrook Line limit urban sprawl, reduce reliance on cars and help create more sustainable communities,” Saffioti said.

“We will continue to work with environmental regulators to ensure this legacy project for Perth minimises its impacts and maximises its role in supporting the long-term sustainability of our city as it grows.”

The state government is making its submissions in two parts, because there are different environmental values along the 21km Morley-Ellenbrook line. The first submission covers the Bayswater to Malaga rail works from the Bayswater industrial area to Malaga within the Tonkin Highway median.

“We have used the existing Tonkin Highway corridor as much as possible and much of the alignment follows largely unvegetated land,” Saffioti said.

The Bayswater to Malaga area has largely been cleared during previous projects, and so there are minimal environmentally sensitive values. The PTA’s submission therefore focused on reducing amenity impacts, such as noise and vibration, to nearby residents.

According to a PTA statement, their project team has avoided sensitive sites and will continue to work closely with regulators to identify, avoid, minimise and mitigate any potential impacts.

The second submission, covering rail work from Malaga to Ellenbrook, is scheduled to be delivered to the EPA by early 2020. This proposed section of the future rail line travels through Marshall Road land, across the narrowest part of the Bennett Brook and land parallel to New Lord Street.

“In the meantime, we look forward to starting the first stage of the Morley-Ellenbrook Line very soon by starting early works for the Bayswater Station Upgrade,” Saffioti said.

The Bayswater Station Upgrade is the first stage of the Morley-Ellenbrook Line construction and will commence during December.

Metronet East redevelopment to add new stations

Two Perth train stations are to be added to the Western Australian Government’s Metronet East Redevelopment Area “to ensure vibrancy, housing and jobs are the focus of each revitalisation”, according to a statement from Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

The project will expand the existing Midland redevelopment area to incorporate the Bayswater and Forrestfield station precincts in Perth. The process is expected to take around 12 months, with Planning Control Areas to be organised in the interim by the WA Planning Commission.

“It is important for the wider community that the State Government harnesses its investment in Metronet to deliver outcomes such as quality infill, housing choice and jobs — which will build a stronger economy and save taxpayers in the longer term,” Minister Saffioti said.

Works at Forrestfield are currently underway, with early works on the Bayswater station upgrade expected to commence in 2019.

Minister Saffioti said that consultation would take place with the cities of Bayswater, Kalamunda and Swan in the coming months to discuss the amendment of the Midland Redevelopment Scheme project being led by the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA).

The MRA is working with Bayswater on its town centre structure plan to make sure it incorporates the new plans, while Kalamunda will continue to plan the broader Forrestfield area outside the redevelopment area.

“By creating Metronet East we bring together our commitment to creating more housing and employment choice and maximising our transformative investment in the Bayswater, Forrestfield and Midland areas,” Saffioti said.

“The best possible outcome for each of the Metronet East precincts would be for them to develop into more attractive areas for people to live, work and visit for recreation.”