Australia’s Victoria Government is set to invest $6.7bn (A$9.3bn) for work on the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) East project, which is expected to begin next year.
The project will deliver twin rail tunnels stretching 26km and six underground stations between Box Hill and Cheltenham.
With the capacity to transport around 70,000 commuters a day, the ‘high-tech’ trains powered by green fuels will commence operations on SRL East by 2035.
These trains will travel from Cheltenham to Box Hill in 22 minutes and take three to four minutes between stops.
International construction and engineering firm Laing O’Rourke has secured the contract to proceed with the first phase of works, which is projected to create around 800 early direct job opportunities.
The scope of the contract covers preparing sites for the deployment of tunnel boring machines, moving and preserving underground services, geotechnical investigations, ground improvement, as well as roads alterations.
According to the Business and Investment case, SRL East and SRL North will generate nearly 24,000 local job prospects and provide $42.29bn (A$58.7bn) in benefits to the region.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said: “We told the Victorian community we will get this project started and we’re getting on with it. The Suburban Rail Loop is not just a rail line, it delivers opportunities for Victorians to live close to work, more access to education and services and supports thousands of new jobs at a time our state needs them most.”
Laing O’Rourke Australia managing director Cathal O’Rourke added: “As well as clearing the way for the main works, we will also provide new opportunities for Victorians to be involved in this city-shaping project and we appreciate the trust placed in us to deliver great outcomes for the community.”
Last month, the Victoria Government unveiled designs for the new Pakenham and East Pakenham stations.