Soil investigation works on the new express track between Laverton and Werribee on the Geelong rail line are under way, with 40 boreholes expected to be drilled in and around the rail corridor before the end of the year.
The drilling, which started this month, is part of an extensive site investigation program to gather detailed information of existing ground conditions.
Information gathered from the site inspections, surveys, geotechnical drilling and sampling will help inform inform ongoing planning and design work to refine the scope, cost and timing of the first stage of Geelong Fast Rail.
Announced late last year, the first stage of Geelong Fast Rail will cut travel times between Geelong and Melbourne to around 50 minutes, by upgrading the more-direct Werribee corridor and diverting some Geelong Line services along that route.
Site investigations will take place primarily within or near the rail corridor at locations from Newport to Werribee, with around 300 individual locations earmarked for a combination of boreholes or cone penetration tests.
This upgrade will complement works already underway further down the state’s busiest regional rail line to increase frequency and reliability including the Waurn Ponds Station upgrade, Waurn Ponds stabling and the South Geelong to Waurn Ponds Duplication.
More than 70 construction and engineering companies, with origins ranging from Melbourne to Madrid, have already provided their details as part of an ongoing Registrations of Interest process for the project.
Rail Projects Victoria is also seeking technical advisor services – either a single company or consortium of companies – to provide additional support with engineering, communications and stakeholder engagement activities.
The Victorian and Federal Government have committed equal shares in the $4 billion funding estimated for the project.
Construction is expected to commence in 2023 subject to relevant Victorian and Federal planning, environmental and other government approvals.