Tunnelling on the Suburban Rail Loop will start in 2026 with the Victorian Government awarding the first tunnelling contract for SRL East.
The $3.6 billion contract to build 16km of twin tunnels between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley has been awarded to a consortium of global tunnelling experts comprising CPB Contractors, Ghella, and Acciona Construction.
Acciona’s Chief Executive Officer Australia & New Zealand, Bede Noonan, said: “Our business has been successfully developing, delivering, constructing, and maintaining major complex projects for over 100 years in Australia. We are proud to be playing our part, alongside CPB Contractors and Ghella, to continue to enhance the lives of Victorians through sustainable infrastructure solutions.”
According to Minister for Suburban Rail Loop Danny Pearson, the project will create 8000 direct jobs – and thousands more in related supply chain jobs – as it delivers six new underground stations between Cheltenham and Box Hill.
Once delivered, the project is expected to cut travel times and congestion, and connect people to new housing, employment, and health and education services in Melbourne’s east and south-east.
“We are full steam ahead with the Suburban Rail Loop,” said Premier Jacinta Allan. “By 2026, tunnel boring machines will be in the ground and Victorians will be hard at work delivering a project that will slash travel times and transform our transport system.”
SRL East is expected to be one of the most sustainable infrastructure construction projects in Australia’s history, with the four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) to be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity and total emissions from construction to be 20 per cent below industry standard.
Skilled workers and training will also benefit from SRL East, with at least 12 per cent of hours to be worked by trainees, apprentices, and cadets.
Construction is progressing across the SRL East corridor, with workers in Burwood using excavators, cranes, and pile-drilling rigs to build a 19m deep, 38m long, and 29m wide TBM launch site.
Under the tunnel contract, most ground preparation works required to excavate safety cross passages between the twin tunnels will be managed underground, reducing impacts on local residents, schools, and roads.
The two other bidders for the Cheltenham to Glen Waverley Package will now compete for the second tunnelling package between Glen Waverley and Box Hill, with that contract to be awarded in 2024.
For more on the Suburban Rail Loop, visit the project page by clicking here.