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Australian News Update 4th March 2019

Posted by: Paul Harris
04/03/2019
Industry News

Calls for high-speed Melbourne-Sydney rail service

Labor figure Anthony Albanese, the Shadow Minister for Transport, Cities and Regional Development has called for a high-speed rail service to be constructed as a “real game changer” for Canada as it could cut the Melbourne-Sydney journey time from 11 hours to under three.

“In my view, we should bite the bullet and go for a high speed rail connection not just through to Sydney but right through to Melbourne and then north to Brisbane,” said Albanese. “It would be a real game changer. It is expensive, but nation-building requires vision.”

The east coast corridor from Melbourne to Sydney, Australia’s two largest cities, is the world’s second busiest corridor for air travel, with more than 9 million passengers flying the route in 2017. Albanese argues that a high-speed rail service would streamline the corridor and provide more affordable access for Australia’s population.

“The benefits are not just in reducing travel times between Sydney and Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane to under three hours,” Albanese explained.

Federal Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said Australia would one day need high-speed rail. “High-speed rail has to be part of the landscape in the future,” he said. The federal agency said in its most recent infrastructure report that corridor preservation between Melbourne and Brisbane remained a high priority.

Albanese went on to highlight the larger benefits to the proposed scheme: “This is about turbocharging those regional economies. It would, of course, provide significant jobs during construction, but it also would provide a significant economic boost in the medium and long term, particularly for regional Australia.” Full story.

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Contractors shortlisted for $354M North-South Corridor project

Two contractors have been shortlisted for a $354 million project for a corridor between Regency Road and Pym Street in South Australia. The path will deliver a 1.8km section of the North-South Corridor. The two contractors shortlisted are McConnell Dowell Constructors, Mott MacDonald Australia, ARUP Group; and CPB Contractors and GHD.

The project’s concept design includes a 1.8km section of non-stop roadway, providing three lanes in each direction.

South Australian Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll said: “Once complete this upgrade will deliver travel time savings of up to 8 minutes during peak periods on South Road between Regency Road and Pym Street.”

The next step will be the Request for Proposal phase which will see the two shortlisted contractors propose competitive design and pricing plans. The successful bidder is expected to be announced early in the third quarter of 2019, with construction expected to begin late 2019. Full story.

Queensland Rail moves up Sydney track repairs

Queensland Rail have moved up repairs of a railway hit by flooding last month. The line was damaged in floods that covered Queensland’s outback in February, cutting off the region’s mines and industrial producers.

Repairs to the 1,000km rail line weren’t expected to be completed until June, but the sped-up timetable means the line will be fixed as soon as April.

Queensland Rail Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Nick Easy said 400 workers were involved in the repairs and that 50 damaged sites on had already been repaired. Even though 200 more sites need fixing, Easy is confident about the new timetable and is committed to getting things back up and running as soon as possible.

“Our coordinated recovery crew will allow us to condense the Mount Isa Line’s repair time down to eight to twelve weeks,” he said. That would have us reopening the line between late April and mid-May 2019.” Full story.

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