Australia’s Victoria Government has shortlisted three bidders to deliver the first stage of works included in the A$11bn ($7.6bn) Melbourne Metro Rail Project early works package tender.
The shortlisted bidders include CPB Contractors; John Holland KBR JV, comprising John Holland Group and KBR; and Lend Lease Coleman Rail JV, which includes Lend Lease Engineering and Coleman Rail.
Delivering a high standard of responses from companies worldwide, the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) carried out a rigorous expression of interest process before shortlisting the bidders.
The project will be funded and built by a public-private partnership (PPP), with major construction scheduled to begin in 2018. The full project is expected to be completed by 2026.
As part of the early works package, MMRA is currently carrying out site investigations along the alignment, which will provide more information about ground conditions and the location of underground services.
The early works will include the relocation and protection of underground services such as gas, sewer and water mains, the relocation of trees and other road features, as well as the design and construction of access shafts.
Victoria public transport minister Jacinta Allan said: "Melbourne Metro Rail will return up to A$1.50 for every dollar invested, generate 4,700 jobs during peak construction and create space for nearly 40,000 extra passengers every morning and evening peak.
"After four long years under the former liberal government, who ignored then abandoned this critical project, we’re getting on with it."
The shortlisted bidders will be requested to submit a formal proposal this second quarter and a contract will be awarded in mid-year.
MMRA CEO Evan Tattersall said: "Following detailed evaluation of the expressions of interest, to have three bidders with such a high level of experience in international and local transport projects is a fantastic result for Victoria."
In January, geotechnical drilling work was started on the Yarra River as part of the Melbourne Metro Rail Project.
The project includes the construction of two 9km rail tunnels and five underground stations. The tunnels will be built from South Kensington to South Yarra as part of a new Sunbury to Cranbourne and Pakenham line.