Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese today joined with Victorian Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder on the banks of the Maribyrnong River to inspect progress on a new bridge superstructure being erected as part of multi-billion dollar Regional Rail Link project.
Mr Albanese said the Regional Rail Link is currently the biggest public transport project underway anywhere in the country, with the Federal Government contributing more than $3.2 billion towards its construction.
“Across the whole project, a package of works worth more than $40 million was delivered by 1,000 workers and over 250,000 man hours in late December and early January,” said Mr Albanese.
“Now the project team is making headway on the new Maribyrnong River Bridge which will consist of 15 lengths spanning over 18 piers. By the end of the year, this new superstructure will extend for nearly a kilometre from South Kensington to Footscray, spanning both the river and the existing rail track.
“I welcome this progress because together with the Victorian Government we are determined to deliver this vital project for the communities of western Melbourne and regional Victoria as quickly as we can.
“Importantly, this nation building project is part of the unprecedented $6.8 billion this Federal Labor Government is investing in renewing and rebuilding Victoria’s road, rail and public transport infrastructure. In fact we have more than doubled annual infrastructure spending from $89 to $201 per Victorian.”
Mr Mulder said the current works at Maribyrnong River continue the major progress made on the Regional Rail Link since it started with more than four million man hours worked to date.
“The Maribyrnong River rail bridge is one of 35 bridges and structures being constructed or modified across the project, in addition to the removal of two level crossings on Anderson Road, Sunshine,” said Mr Mulder.
“Limited access near the river means the main support beams will be manoeuvred into place without the use of cranes. Works south of the existing, heritage listed rail bridge are also being carefully undertaken in order to avoid damaging it.
“Work on the project’s City–Maribyrnong River section will also involve laying new track over a distance of 4.5 kilometres, part of the 90 kilometres of new track which will eventually make up the Regional Rail Line.
“When operational in 2016, Melbourne’s rail network will have extra capacity for 23 metropolitan and 10 country train trips during the morning and evening peak periods, carrying up to an extra 54,000 passenger trips each day.”
The package of works undertaken in late December and early January included:
- La Trobe Street rail bridge strengthening works;
- Track, platform extension and formation works at Southern Cross Station platforms 15/16;
- Underground Rail Loop tunnel strengthening works in preparation for Dudley Street bridge work;
- Track upgrades and signalling cable relocation and upgrades;
- Major structural works to the freight bridge in Footscray;
- Major track reconfiguration in Footscray and Sunshine;
- Structural works to remove the Bendigo/Sunbury level crossing on Anderson Road, Sunshine;
- Construction at Footscray, West Footscray and Sunshine railway stations;
- Substantial excavation and the construction of retaining walls in Footscray;
- Major bridge works at Nicholson Street and Albert Street (Footscray) and Ashley Street (Tottenham);
- Removal of the Rising Sun footbridge (West Footscray); and
- Drilling under the rail tracks to install conduits for carrying new signalling and fibre optic cables between Sunshine and Deer Park.
A time-lapse video of the new Maribyrnong River Bridge’s foundations being laid can be found at www.regionalraillink.vic.gov.au/MRtimelapse.
An animation of what the final superstructure will look like can be downloaded from: http://www.regionalraillink.vic.gov.au/MRanimation.