Spark has been chosen as preferred bidder for the tunnelling package of Melbourne’s US$12bn North East Link, an essential section of the city’s freeway network by Australia’s SGV (State Government of Victoria).
Spark includes GS Engineering and Construction, China Construction Oceania, WeBuild, Ventia, John Laing Investments, CPB Contractors, Capella Capital, DIF and Pacific Partnerships. If they become successful, the group is going to build the twin three-lane tunnels and key interchanges as a Public Private Partnership. For now, it will work with State Government of Victoria to negotiate a final contract and finalize its concept design for the project.
The purpose of building new 6km tunnels is to protect sensitive environmental areas and homes containing the Banyule Flats, Yarra River and Warringal Parklands. When the tunnelling package is awarded, the project will go out to market for the other essential elements, which comprise a massive repair and service of the Eastern Freeway; Melbourne’s first dedicated busway; the completion of the M80 Ring Road; and over 25km of upgraded and new cycling and walking paths.
This project will link the M80 Ring Road to an upgraded Eastern Freeway, reducing travel times by 35 minutes and taking 15,000 trucks off local roads. It is going to connect essential growth areas in the north and south-east, supplying an efficient connection for up to 135,000 vehicles per day. A great focus is on making 10,000 local jobs, with 10% of total work hours to be achieved by trainees, apprentices or cadets as part of the government’s Local Jobs First Policy.
The construction on the tunnelling package is anticipated to start once contract award later in 2021. The North East Link is slated to open to traffic by 2027.