A US$504m contract for a 171km rail upgrade in northwest New South Wales has been awarded to Australian companies John Holland and SEE Civil.
A joint venture between the two will upgrade an existing line from Narrabri to North Star, and may lay new track between Moree and Camurra.
The project is part of the Inland Rail project, Australia’s largest infrastructure scheme (see further reading), which will run for 1,700km between Melbourne to Brisbane, bypassing the congested Sydney network
Michael McCormack, Australia’s deputy prime minister, described this as a "corridor of commerce" and said it would "change the freight task in Australia, and in doing create opportunity in regional Australia with unprecedented investment and job creation".
He added: "This nationally significant infrastructure is being built by the skills and expertise of Australian businesses – businesses that invest locally, drive regional employment and give back to communities."
Simon Birmingham, Australia’s finance minister, said: "With the award of this contract, there will be flow-on effects through the economy with more local businesses and suppliers set to come on-board and support Inland Rail construction.
"The upgrade of another 171km of track is another important piece in the puzzle to delivering better and quicker freight access to our primary producers in regional Australia, helping them get their product to markets in Australia and overseas with more ease."
Construction on the project is due to begin before the end of 2020.
Image courtesy of Inland Rail