The search for specialist engineers and environmental advisers to identify and investigate the design, safety and conservation issues associated with the proposed Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link has begun.
Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said interested parties have until 19 October to make a submission under the tender process being managed by the NSW Government, with the successful bidders for both roles expected to be appointed by the end of the year.
“The work to be undertaken will help get the project ‘shovel ready’ and include assessing the structural integrity of the line’s partially constructed sections,” said Mr Albanese.
“As with any new, major piece of infrastructure we need to make sure that we get the planning right from the very beginning. What’s more, the investigations to be completed by the specialist consultants will be vital to securing the necessary planning and environmental approvals.
“Our aim is have all these preconstruction activities wrapped up in time for the project to be considered for possible inclusion in our next multibillion dollar road and rail construction program due to start in mid-2014.”
The project would involve laying 35 kilometres of standard gauge track connecting Port Kembla directly to the Main North South Line via Dombarton. It would also include two passing loops, new bridges over the Nepean and Cordeaux Rivers and one of Australia’s longest tunnels (see attached map).
Local MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones said the latest sign of progress should reassure the local community of Federal Labor’s genuine determination to resurrect this project after more than two decades of inaction.
“Indeed, this rail link is only back on the agenda today thanks to the funding we’ve provided since coming to office in late 2007, a commitment which so far totals almost $30 million,” said Ms Bird.
“The preconstruction activities, which will begin in earnest in coming months, will complete the detailed planning and design work as well as finalise a construction timetable and provide accurate cost estimates.”
A specialist cost planner will also be appointed later this year.
Further details about the tenders are available at: www.tenders.nsw.gov.au.