Three consortiums have progressed to the request for proposal stage for the Gowrie to Kagaru Public Private Partnership (PPP).
The successful consortium will win the contract to build the 6.2km tunnel through the Toowoomba Range, connecting Inland Rail to the Brisbane outskirts, as well as 121.8km of above-ground track, said Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller.
“The PPP will deliver the 128 kilometres from Gowrie to Kagaru and will include construction of three tunnels and numerous viaducts, bridges and crossing loops,” he said.
The three consortiums are; Captsone, including CPB Contractors, Ghella, UGL, DIF, and Pacific Partnerships; G2Konnect, including Acciona, Ferrovial, Cintra, and Macquarie; and Regionerate Rail, which includes Clough, GS Engineering and Construction, Webuild (formerly Salini Impregilo), Lend Lease Services, and Plenary Group.
The tunnel underneath the Toowoomba Range will be the longest diesel freight rail tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere. Wankmuller said the complexities of these sections of Inland Rail has led to extensive research already.
“The geology and topography of this section, mostly located within protected corridors, poses many challenges which have required us to undertake a lot of site investigations to obtain a better understanding of the conditions and inform the final design,” he said.
“The RFP process will enable ARTC to leverage the considerable global engineering expertise required to deliver innovative design solutions and efficient construction methods for this technically challenging terrain.”
As the only section of Inland Rail to be delivered under a PPP contract, Wankmuller said the project would be an exemplar of the best of the sector.
“The PPP process will draw on the private sector’s experience and innovation to deliver the world-class engineering solution required to traverse the Great Dividing Range”, he said.
“This is the type of challenge that excites multi-national contractors, engineers and financiers. This is the type of iconic project that consortia will use to showcase their credentials when pursuing future contracts.”
A contract is expected to be awarded in 2022.