Engineering, Passenger Rail

Work begins on Melbourne Metro Tunnel

Construction of Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel project has officially kicked off, with John Holland starting early works in the CBD this week.

John Holland, which holds the $324 million early works contract for the project, has now begun work to move up to 100 utility services under the city’s surface.

The contract also includes excavating the 11-storey deep shafts next to Swanston Street to enable the construction of the two new city stations, which will be built to access the new cross-CBD line.

The stations, and the tunnel itself, will be built by one of the three consortia named to the shortlist for the $6 billion Metro Tunnel and Stations PPP in August:

  • Continuum Victoria – comprising ACCIONA Infrastructure, Ferrovial Agroman, Honeywell, Downer EDI and Plenary
  • Cross Yarra Partnership – comprising Lendlease Engineering, John Holland, Bouygues Construction and Capella Capital
  • Moving Melbourne Together – comprising Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, Ghella, Salini Impregilo, Serco and Macquarie Capital

The Request for Proposal has now been released to the three bidders.

Two consortia were also shortlisted earlier this month for the $1 billion Rail Systems Alliance signalling contract to facilitate the Metro Tunnel project:

  • A consortium comprising CPB Contractors and Bombardier Transportation
  • The MetroConnect consortium comprising John Holland, Siemens and UGL

The other major contract relating to the tunnel, the High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT) deal, was awarded to the Evolution Rail consortium of Downer Rail, CRRC and Plenary, on September 12.

Victorian public transport minister and acting premier Jacinta Allan used the start of early works as an opportunity to remind the Federal Government “not to break their promise on asset recycling,” and give the state a full 15% payment as a result of this week’s $9.7 billion privatisation of the Port of Melbourne.

The Turnbull Government has said it will not pay the full 15% incentive dictated by its asset recycling scheme, because the port was not sold by June 30 – a justification Victorian ports minister Luke Donnellan has called “an absolute disgrace”.

Allan on Thursday reminded the Federal Government that Victoria is home to 25% of the country’s population, and is its “fastest growing state”.

Despite this, Allan says, Victoria receives just 9% of national infrastructure funding.

“Malcolm Turnbull should keep his promise to Victorians and help us deliver even more critical transport infrastructure,” Allan said.

“You can’t have one rule for New South Wales, and a different one for Victoria.”