FIRST LIGHT RAIL CONTRACTS ANNOUNCED

FIRST LIGHT RAIL CONTRACTS ANNOUNCED

CONTRACTS worth $68 million for initial Gold Coast Rapid Transit works have gone to two Brisbane construction giants.

Premier Anna Bligh and Federal Infrastructure and Transport minister Anthony Albanese have announced Seymour Whyte Constructions and Baulderstone Pty Ltd as the successful tenders to prepare the Rapid Transit corridor for construction.

Baulderstone is a subsidiary of German publically-listed corporation Bilfinger Berger, and with 1400 staff and an annual turnover of more than $2 billion, is one of Australia’s largest national construction companies.

Brisbane-headquartered Seymour Whyte also has offices in Townsville and Sydney.

Albanese used the opportunity to plug the Gillard Government’s commitment to infrastructure projects while State Transport Minister Rachel Nolan reiterated the economic significance of the Rapid Transit Project.

"These two contracts are expected to create about 800 direct and indirect jobs, while stage one of the Gold Coast light rail project will generate 6300 direct and indirect jobs in total," says Nolan.

"Before the light rail system can be built, the roads it will travel on have to be prepared so this early work will include surveying, road widening, intersection upgrades, landscaping, concreting and paving.

"Services located under the road such as the gas, water and telecommunications also have to be moved to a more accessible location to allow for future repairs and upgrades."

Nolan says Southport residents would be kept informed of road works, which are expected to take 12 months to complete in the following areas:

• Queen Street west between Wardoo Street and Nerang Street
• Nerang Street from Queen Street to Scarborough Street
• Queen Street east between Scarborough Street and the Gold Coast Highway
• Broadbeach road works along the Gold Coast Highway between the intersections of Thornton Street and Australia Avenue.

"Residents and businesses will be advised in advance of any work, the nature of the work and the working hours," says Nolan.

"Contractors will be required to minimise the impact on the traffic network and demonstrate the highest levels of safety at construction sites.”

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke welcomed the announcement and says the early commencement of road works provides a jobs boost for the local construction industry.

"This heralds the project kicking into full swing and that's great news for employment on the Gold Coast," says Clarke.

"The light rail is truly a city-changing project and once complete will transform our public transport network and the transport options available to our residents and visitors.”

Tender submissions for further construct and operation contracts are expected in November with the successful consortium announced in June 2011.

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