Suburban Rail Loop Early Works a Step Closer

Article date
05 May 2021

A staggering seven kilometres of ground – the equivalent of 15 laps around the MCG – has been drilled by Suburban Rail Loop workers, as pre-construction works on the mega project ramp up in Melbourne’s south east and three of the largest construction companies in Australia line up to build this project.  
 
More than 425 boreholes and geotechnical investigations have been drilled between Cheltenham and Box Hill, where twin 26km underground tunnels will be built during Stage One. Five drilling rigs are currently in the ground, with another two rigs being brought on in coming weeks – a new benchmark for the project.  

Hundreds of other land and groundwater surveys have been conducted, with around 10,000 laboratory tests completed. The exploratory work underway to plan the twin tunnel alignment also includes laser and CCTV technology, which is helping workers to remotely inspect the South East Trunk Sewer. 

Thousands of lasers are fired in the space, bouncing off solid surfaces to create a ‘point cloud’ to map the area with pinpoint accuracy – ideal for inspecting tight, hard to reach places.  

The work is helping shape the six underground stations to be built as part of Stage One - at Cheltenham, Clayton, Monash, Glen Waverley, Burwood and Box Hill. Further announcements will be made soon, with finishing touches being made on the development of the precise station locations, entrances and design elements. 

It comes as the government announces CPB Contractors, John Holland and Laing O’Rourke are lining up to build these projects, which will decide who delivers the first phase of construction on the mega project. 

The huge package of works will see roads modified, utilities relocated and protected, ground improvement trials, tram terminus works and sites prepared across Melbourne’s south east to make way for massive tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will tunnel the 26 kilometre rail corridor from Cheltenham to Box Hill. 

The start of construction next year will create up to 800 early direct jobs, overall the project will create 20,000 jobs. 

Respondents will need to demonstrate they can deliver these works, put local jobs first, and commit to other key programs including the Major Projects Skills Guarantee, Recycled First Policy and the Social Procurement Framework. The contract will be awarded by the end of the year with construction starting in Melbourne’s south east in 2022. 

The Victorian Budget 2020/21 provided $2.2 billion to kickstart this procurement process, buy the land required for the TBM launches and prepare for construction of the Stage One rail line and six new underground stations. 

Stage One of Suburban Rail Loop will slash public transport travel times and connect our growing health, education, retail and employment precincts in Melbourne’s south east between Cheltenham and Box Hill.