Early construction has begun on Melbourne’s $10 billion Airport Rail link, which will see more than 30 stations across the city have a direct connection to the nation’s second busiest airport via the Metro Tunnel.
The project forms a key part of the major $125 billion Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) development that is aiming to deliver a 90km orbital railway between Cheltenham and Werribee across four stages.
Slated for completion in 2029, works for the Airport Rail (SRL Airport) link are underway at Keilor East, where a new station will connect more than 150,000 passengers in the City of Moonee Valley to Victoria’s rail network for the first time.
While passengers from the CBD will be able to arrive at Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport in 30 minutes, people coming from Ballarat will shed almost an hour off their commute, reaching their destination in just 90 minutes.
The first tranche of the project involves the removal and relocation of six AusNet electricity transmission towers between the Western Ring Road (M80) and the existing Albion-Jacana freight corridor. Repositioning the towers will create space for a rail bridge over the M80, which will take trains to the airport every 10 minutes.
A construction consortium comprising FCC Construction Australia, Winslow Infrastructure and McConnell Dowell have been selected to deliver key parts of the project, including a 550-metre twin-track rail bridge over the Maribyrnong River. The bridge will stand more than 50m above the river valley at its highest point, making it the second-highest bridge in the state after West Gate Bridge (58m).
Premier Daniel Andrews said The Suburban Rail Loop will change the way the whole state moves, connecting every major suburban and regional rail line to Melbourne Airport.
In addition, the state government has also committed $143 million to improve Sunshine Station, which is set to become a major interchange along the rail line for regional Victoria.
The upgrade will see the site nearly double in size, including a new bus interchange, shared vehicle and pedestrian pavements, more open-space and the creation of future development sites.
A second construction consortium of John Holland, CPB, KBR and AECOM have been chosen to deliver the Sunshine Systems Alliance works package, rebuild Albion Station, and build twin tracks between Sunshine and the Albion-Jacana corridor, including the elevated rail bridge.
“Getting started on this much-needed upgrade to Sunshine Station and Station Place comes on top of a brand-new station at Tarneit West, an overhaul of Albion Station and planning for a station at Truganina – creating jobs, supporting local businesses and getting passengers home safer and sooner,” Member for Tarneit Sarah Connolly said.
Member for St Albans Natalie Suleyman added the Sunshine Station upgrade will give the entire precinct a facelift, with modern facilities and better access bring the busy local hub up to the standard commuters in Melbourne’s west expect and deserve.
The project has received $5 billion each from the federal and state governments respectively.
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