In 2016 the Minister for Planning in Victoria signed off on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project’s rigorous Environment Effects Statement, which means it’s full steam ahead for the coming year.
The decision to approve the Environment Effects Statement was considered an important milestone as it paves the way for major construction to start in early 2017 in preparation for tunnelling under Melbourne in 2018.
The end result of the $10.9 billion Metro Tunnel will be a transformation of Melbourne’s public transport network with five new underground stations, freeing up space in the City Loop to run more trains, more often to the suburbs.
The road ahead
The coming weeks will see work gather pace as in preparation for the start of Public Private Partnership works next year.
Franklin and A’Beckett streets in the CBD will be partially closed to enable construction of the new CBD North Station, next to Melbourne Central. Nearby roads will be upgraded to improve traffic flow and provide an alternative travel route.
City Square will soon be occupied in order to enable construction of the new CBD South Station, near Flinders Street Station.
In late April in 2017, Domain Road will be closed from St Kilda Road to the edge of Edmund Herring Oval for construction of the new Domain station, and trams will begin running along the new Toorak Road West connection.
St Kilda Road will be reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction later this year while the new Domain Station is built. Tram, pedestrian and bicycle access will be maintained.
The $6 billion Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract is expected to be awarded by the end of 2017, after the following three consortiums were shortlisted for the contract in 2016:
- Continuum Victoria – comprising ACCIONA Infrastructure, Ferrovial Agroman, Honeywell, Downer EDI and Plenary Origination
- 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 Metro Tunnel’s project leaders said despite inevitable significant impacts over the construction period, plans will be in place to minimise them as much as possible.
“In exchange for a few years of disruption, Melburnians right across the city will receive decades of benefits as waiting times are slashed and the network operates more efficiently.”