New rail contracts worth $910 million to remove level crossings across Melbourne were awarded by the state government amid a $3 billion dispute over the metro tunnel.
The state government awarded the contracts to remove five level crossings on the Frankston line and the Clyde Road crossing on the Pakenham line.
A $744 million contract for work at Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach was given to an alliance of Lendlease, Acciona Coleman Rail, WSP and Metro Trains Melbourne—with major work to start next year.
A further $166 million was awarded to the alliance comprising Fulton Hogan and Metro Trains Melbourne to remove the Clyde Road level crossing in Berwick by lowering the road under the Pakenham line.
Meanwhile, digging work finally resumed on the $11 billion Melbourne Metro tunnel following mediation between the state government and Cross Yarra Partnership consortium—Lendlease, John Holland, Bouygues Construction and Capella Capital—over cost blowouts and deadlines.
The consortium placed two of its tunnel boring machines on standby from Monday to Thursday as the dispute boiled over.
A Rail Projects Victoria spokesperson said they were still committed to delivering the Metro Tunnel Project by 2025.
“To date, [the consortium] has not provided Rail Projects Victoria with any specific detail of proposed changes to its tunnelling program,” the spokesperson said.
The state government has invested $3 billion to update the Frankston line, with the new Carrum Station to open in mid-February and major works starting in Cheltenham and Mentone.
Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said with 50 level crossing removal contracts now awarded across Melbourne, and 30 crossings already gone.
“We said we’d remove 75 level crossings by 2025 and with contracts now awarded for 50, we’re well on track,” she said.