11/05/2015 - 11:45

Perth Freight Link may include tunnel

11/05/2015 - 11:45

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The state government has invited three consortia to develop proposals for the $1.6 billion Perth Freight Link project, including the potential construction of a tunnel.

The Perth Freight Link project will create a new freight connection between Roe Highway and Fremantle Port.

The state government has invited three consortia to develop proposals for the $1.6 billion Perth Freight Link, including the potential construction of a tunnel at the Fremantle end of the road project.

It’s the second major project in Perth to include plans for a tunnel, after the state government announced in August last year that the $2.2 billion Forrestfield-Airport rail link would include an eight-kilometre tunnel underneath the Swan River and Perth Airport.

One of the proponents comprises members of the Gateway WA alliance, which includes Leighton Contractors, Georgiou, GHD, AECOM and BG&E, together with local business WA Limestone.

Gateway WA, in partnership with Main Roads WA, is currently constructing the $1 billion Perth Airport and Freight Access roads project.

A consortium comprising BGC Contracting, Laing O’Rourke, Arup and Jacobs Engineering has also been chosen to develop proposals for the Perth Freight Link, while the third consortium consists of Clough, Brierty, WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff and Hyder.

Clough has been working primarily on major LNG and iron ore projects in recent years, and has also built several major jetties through its joint venture with Dutch company BAM International, but is not known as a roads contractor.

While in different consortiums for this project, AECOM and Laing O’Rourke are working together on a $100 million contract awarded in March to build the train station and associated railway infrastructure at the new Perth Stadium.

Toronto-based WSP, which has an office in Perth's CBD, purchased Parsons Brinckerhoff for $1.45 billion in September last year.

Under the government's tendering process, Perth Freight Link has been divided into two projects - a 5.2-kilometre extension of Roe Highway from Kwinana Freeway to just west of Coolbellup Avenue, while section two involves upgrades to Stock Road, Leach Highway, High Street and Stirling Highway, spanning 8.2km.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said while construction and design work over the past six years had finalised the route for section one, the most obvious route for section two would continue to be refined.

“In this next phase we ask the proponents to also look at innovative solutions, including the potential for a tunnelling option,” he said.

“The feasibility of other options will be considered against environmental, economic and social impacts.”

Main Roads told Business News the potential alternative route comprises an above ground section following the land reserved for Roe 9 west of Stock Road and a tunnel section following the route previously proposed for the Fremantle Eastern Bypass.

To support this possibility, geotechnical work has been undertaken on three Main Roads properties within the Fremantle area.

Mr Nalder said the awarding of contracts was expected in September for section one, and in December for section two. The work could be awarded to two separate consortia,

Map showing the two sections of the Perth Freight Link project. Photo: Main Roads WA

Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs said the project would help drive economic growth by providing benefits of more than $3.9 billion to the state, including $2.5 billion in travel time savings and $840 million in reduced vehicle operating costs.

“Importantly, it is expected to create 2,400 construction jobs, providing a vital employment boost for WA,” he said.

“The Perth Freight Link will create a new world-class freight connection between Roe Highway and Fremantle Port, reducing transport costs and improving efficiency in heavy vehicle movements.”

The federal government has committed $925 million to the project, while the state government has contributed $650 million.

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