It is called the biggest public transport project in the Australian state of Victoria’s history, and France’s Bouygues Construction will help build it.
Bouygues is part of a consortium named this week as design-builders of Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel project, a $4.75bn (A$6bn) public-private partnership scheme to build a 9-km transit system and five underground stations.
Its Cross Yarra Partnership – a consortium involving Lendlease Engineering, John Holland, Bouygues Construction and Capella Capital – beat two other groups of international firms for the job (details at end).
The project entails using up to six tunnel boring machines and the excavation of three giant shafts – 11 storeys deep – in Melbourne’s central business district, the state government said in announcing the shortlist of consortia last year.
The new system will lead to a step-change in mobility in Melbourne, according to Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews. "The Metro Tunnel will let us run trains so often that you don’t need a timetable – you just turn up and go," he said last year.
Announcing the selection of the Cross Yarra Partnership this week he said: "We don’t just talk about it – we’re building the train network Victoria needs and creating thousands of local jobs."
Bouygues’ team beat two other groups. One comprised Acciona Infrastructure, Ferrovial Agroman, Honeywell, Downer EDI and Plenary Origination. The other comprised Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, Ghella, Salini Impregilo, Serco and Macquarie Capital.
The project will build five new underground stations, each with its own identity. They will include wider platforms, more natural light and sweeping arches, bringing world-class urban design to the heart of Melbourne and its train network.
Victoria’s Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said: "The Metro Tunnel will free up space in the City Loop to run more trains, more often across Melbourne."
Image: Artist’s impression of CBD North Station concourse of Melbourne’s planned Metro Tunnel (http://metrotunnel.vic.gov.au)