The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has appointed Regionerate Rail – a consortium comprising Plenary Group, Clough, GS Engineering and Construction, Webuild and Service Stream – as preferred bidder for the development of the Gowrie to Kagaru section of Inland Rail, a significant milestone for the part of the project running through the Queensland.
The contract is worth more than $5 billion for the design and construct elements.
The section between Gowrie and Kagaru will be approximately 128 kilometres of new and upgraded rail track through the most geographically challenging section of the 1,700-kilometre rail line between Brisbane in Queensland and Melbourne in Victoria. It will include a 6.2-kilometre tunnel through the Great Dividing Range, the largest diameter freight tunnel in the southern hemisphere.
Being delivered as a public-private partnership (PPP), the contract will also include a 25-year maintenance phase after the completion of the section between Gowrie to Kagaru.
ARTC Inland Rail Interim Chief Executive Rebecca Pickering said the decision to select Regionerate Rail followed a two-year process with the best of international expertise competing to be part of the project.
“This landmark agreement is huge for Inland Rail and puts billions of dollars in stimulus, jobs and long-term economic growth on the table for Queensland – through construction, Inland Rail is expected to support more than 11,800 jobs and deliver a $7.8 billion boost to the state’s economy during construction and the over the forward operations,” Mrs Pickering said.
“This is an important step. Regionerate Rail have been able to leverage their own considerable engineering expertise to produce truly innovative design and construction methods for this technically challenging project,” she said.
“I am looking forward to seeing their solution become a reality. This project is a game-changer for the way we will deliver freight around the nation and during the past two years we have been reminded time and time again how important our future supply chains are.”
Webuild Chief Executive Officer, Pietro Salini said Australia was a strategic market for the global construction company.
“For us, Australia is one of the most strategic markets in the world, given the opportunities that it offers in sustainable mobility and renewable energy,” said Webuild Chief Executive Officer, Pietro Salini.
“We are proud of Webuild’s involvement in Inland Rail, especially on the most technically complex section of the project.”
WeBuild has been in Australia since the 1970s, gradually expanding its activities in a number of states, from Western Australia to New South Wales, from Victoria to Queensland.
In Perth, the Group is completing the Forrestfield-Airport Link, a rail service connecting the eastern suburbs with the city centre. In Sydney, it built the skytrain bridge and viaduct for Sydney Metro Northwest. In the Snowy Mountains, Webuild is developing Snowy 2.0, the biggest hydropower project in the country. In Melbourne, the Group and its consortium partners signed a contract for the North East Link PPP Primary Package, the largest for an infrastructure project in Australia.
The Inland Rial project is Australia’s largest freight rail infrastructure project and will consist of over 1,700 kilometres of rail connecting Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The Rail Corridor Program will deliver works with an estimated value of more than $300 million, providing work for an estimated 600 people who will lay 1.7 million tonnes of ballast and 80,000 tonnes of steel rail, and install nearly 950,000 Australian made concrete sleepers.
Mrs Pickering said ARTC and Regionerate Rail are committed to maximising employment and business opportunities through the project, which goes through the local government areas of Toowoomba, the Lockyer Valley, Ipswich and the Scenic Rim.