Construction Industry in Australia Soars to New Heights with Record Crane Activity
Australia’s construction industry is on an exhilarating journey marked by a remarkable…
13 September 2023
In a significant development for Melbourne’s construction industry, the Victorian government has unveiled its preferred bidder for the first tunnelling contract of the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) East project. The consortium known as Suburban Connect, comprising CPB Contractors, Ghella, and Acciona Construction, will play a pivotal role in building a 16km section of twin tunnels between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley.
The SRL East project, part of the ambitious Suburban Rail Loop initiative, is poised to bring about a construction boom, creating up to 8000 jobs. Among its key features are six new underground stations that will dot the landscape between Cheltenham and Box Hill, spanning a total of 26km of tunnels. This undertaking is not merely about enhancing the public transport network; it’s a visionary effort that will shape Melbourne’s growth for decades to come, reducing traffic congestion, and providing employment opportunities for an estimated 24,000 workers over the project’s lifespan.
Jacinta Allan, the Suburban Rail Loop minister, underscored the project’s significance, stating, “SRL will not only transform our public transport network, it’ll reshape how Melbourne grows in the decades ahead, taking thousands of cars off roads, delivering 24,000 jobs across the life of the project and boosting hundreds of small local businesses.”
The construction will kick off with ten tunnel boring machines (TBMs), set to commence operations from Monash, Burwood, and Heatherton. A second contract is slated to be awarded in 2024, covering the tunnelling between Glen Waverley and Box Hill.
The government has taken a proactive approach to community involvement by releasing the SRL Precincts Discussion Paper for consultation. This is a precursor to detailed drafts of the project visions for each of the six new stations at Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood, and Box Hill, which will also be subjected to community consultation later this year.
Meanwhile, Melbourne is gearing up to welcome the first of two colossal tunnel boring machines, weighing a whopping 4000 tonnes with a 15.6m diameter when assembled. These machines are destined for the North East Link Tunnels project, and their parts will begin their journey from the Port of Melbourne this September. Assembling these behemoths on-site and lowering them into the ground by a 550-gantry crane will be a six-month-long endeavor. Starting in mid-next year, these machines will work tirelessly, day and night, excavating a pair of 6.5km twin tunnels from Watsonia to Bulleen. This monumental undertaking will divert trucks and heavy traffic away from suburban streets, improving local traffic flow.
Notably, infrastructure improvements go beyond the tunnels themselves. Greensborough Road is set to undergo a temporary full closure in late September to facilitate the installation of an enclosed conveyor, while a 200m long tunnel launch area will be constructed on its eastern side. Additionally, a 13m high shed will be erected to store concrete segments necessary for lining the tunnel walls. As part of this project, Bulleen Road will be realigned further west to accommodate the new Yarra Link green bridge, connecting Koonung Creek Trail to Bulleen Park. This realignment is scheduled to be completed by late 2023.
Overall, the North East Link program is expected to generate over 10,000 jobs and will be finalised by 2028, alleviating the burden of 15,000 trucks from local roads. This extensive program also encompasses the Hurstbridge Line Duplication, Fitzsimons Lane Upgrade, and the removal of 21 level crossings, with funding jointly provided by the federal and Victorian governments.
As the construction industry in Melbourne continues to expand and evolve, these projects mark crucial milestones in enhancing the city’s infrastructure and fostering economic growth. The construction industry, with its workforce typically aged between 25 and 50, will undoubtedly play a central role in shaping Melbourne’s future. Stay tuned for more updates as these transformative projects unfold.