The contract to carry out reference design and accompanying primary approvals documentation on two sections of the Inland Rail project has been awarded.
WSP Australia will carry out the work on the Albury to Illabo and Stockinbingal to Parkes sections, said project director Melvyn Maylin.
“A range of investigations will be delivered under the new contract, including ecological and geotechnical surveying, as well as scrutiny of impacts to cultural heritage, noise, air quality and utilities,” he said.
“This is an important step in progressing these two enhancement projects in southern New South Wales.”
The two sections have been combined together due to their similarities, reducing time and cost.
“The benefits of combining the two Inland Rail projects into the same service provider package is that both sections are enhancement projects in existing rail corridors, rather than new construction,” said Maylin.
“By nature, they are similar types of work and this approach will lead to cost effective and efficient project delivery.”
Work on the two sections with a combined length of 358km largely involves upgrading the current rail line to enable double stacked freight trains to run on the future route. Specific works will include increasing vertical clearances around bridges and new crossing loops.
The 37km section of new track from Illabo to Stockinbingal is still in the reference design stage.
The two sections have been identified as needing to progress by the NSW government, which handles planning approvals.
“The Albury to Illabo section has been classified State Significant Infrastructure by the NSW Government, and is currently in the process of an Environmental Impact Statement approvals pathway,” said Maylin.
“As for the Stockinbingal to Parkes project, the environmental assessment will be through four Review of Environmental Factors (REFs).”
The tenders for the first packages of construction work will follow reference design and planning approvals. This is expected in late 2021.