Sydney’s long-awaited “super train” tunnel underneath the harbour is now on track, after the NSW government awarded a $2.81 billion contract for its construction.
The new twin rail lines to be bored beneath the waters are a crucial part of the government’s overarching $20.8 billion Sydney Metro rail project.
The 66km line will run from Sydney’s northwest, through the CBD and out to Bankstown in the southwest and is due to start operating in 2024.
“The state’s super train is coming,” NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said.
It will be linked by 15.5km-long twin metro rail tunnels from Chatswood on the north shore, under the harbour, and to Sydenham in the inner west.
Preparation work will begin immediately at the dive sites to get the first of five tunnel boring machines in the ground by the end of 2018, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday.
The contract was awarded to three foreign-owned joint venture parties – John Holland, CPB Contractors and Ghella.
“The scale of this project and what it will do for the ease and speed of travelling across Sydney is hard to comprehend,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
Tunnelling work is set to be complete by 2021 and most will be done away from the city in an effort to minimise disruption to Sydneysiders.
Barges will remove the crushed rock at excavation sites at Blues Point and Barangaroo – reducing impacts to the road network and cutting truck movements, Mr Constance said.
Once the tunnelling is complete, work will continue to lay tracks and fit out stations.
“Our expectation is to deliver on time and on budget,” Mr Constance said.