Industry NewsTransportationTunnel Boring

First major contract awarded for Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop

Victoria’s Big Build announced that the first tunnels contract has been awarded for Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) East, with tunneling to start in 2026.

A consortium of global tunneling experts has been awarded the $3.6 billion Tunnels South contract to build 16 km (10 miles) of twin tunnels between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley.

CPB Contractors, Ghella and Acciona Construction have extensive experience in Victoria and Australia. The contract includes several industry-leading innovation and environmental initiatives, which will help make SRL East one of the most sustainable projects in Australia’s history.

The four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) for this section will be powered by renewable electricity, and construction and materials emissions will be reduced by 20 percent.

On the jobs front, opportunities will be boosted for skilled workers and training and at least 12 percent of hours to be worked by trainees, apprentices and cadets.

The contract will also include 55 safety cross passages between the tunnels, station boxes at Clayton and Monash and the construction of portals – the entrances and exits to the tunnels – at the stabling facility.

SRL East will create up to 8,000 direct jobs and deliver six new underground stations between Cheltenham and Box Hill, slashing travel times and congestion, and connecting people to new housing options and key employment, health and education destinations in Melbourne’s east and south east.

Construction is progressing across the SRL East corridor, with workers in Burwood using excavators, cranes and pile-drilling rigs to build a 19 m (63 ft) deep, 38 m (125 ft) long and 29 m (95 ft) wide TBM launch site.

In addition, two shortlisted bidders for the Tunnels North contract between Glen Waverley and Box Hill are now at the Request for Proposal stage, with the contract to be awarded next year.

In a separate package of works, two consortia have been shortlisted to build the fleet of high-tech SRL trains, signaling system, and operation and maintenance of the SRL East network. This Linewide Alliance contract is expected to be awarded in 2025.

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