The Victorian Government is carrying out geotechnical work on the Suburban Rail Loop project, signalling the start of extensive ground works.
The geotechnical work encompasses borehole drilling to depths of between 30-60 metres at the Box Hill site, with samples to be analysed over the next fortnight for soil and rock composition and stability. The work is intended to identify suitable locations for the underground stations.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan were in attendance at Box Hill to announce the next phase of the project as it moves towards its anticipated 2022 construction start date.
“We said we’d get the Suburban Rail Loop started and that’s what we’re doing – with geotechnical work now underway in Box Hill,” Andrews said.
The $50 billion Suburban Rail Loop, part of Victoria’s Big Build program, is intended to connect Melbourne’s middle suburbs through an underground 90-kilometre rail link running from the Frankston line to the Werribee line via Melbourne Airport.
The project, which is planned to incorporate several new stations looping from the southeast to the northwest of the city, may not be fully completed until the 2050s. Andrews stated that the project would change the way people move around Melbourne, “slashing travel times and better connecting people with jobs, education and other vital services, wherever they live”.
The expensive project received a funding blow following Labor’s defeat at the federal election in May. Former Labor leader Bill Shorten promised $10 billion for the project in the event of winning the election, including $300 million in matched funding with the Victorian Government, but this failed to transpire due to his loss to Liberal leader Scott Morrison.