Shortlist for new Vic rail loop contracts

·1-min read

Global construction giants have been shortlisted for contracts to build the first section of Melbourne's controversial Suburban Rail Loop.

Five bids were made to carry out tunnelling from 2026 on the 26-kilometre eastern section of the line from Cheltenham to Box Hill.

The Victorian government on Wednesday announced three consortia been invited to submit detailed proposals to dig the twin tunnels.

The tunnelling work will be split into two separate contracts, with the first between Cheltenham and Glen Waverley and the second between Glen Waverley and Box Hill.

The first contract would be awarded next year, should the Andrews Labor government secure a third consecutive term in November.

But if the Victorian coalition triumph at the polls it will shelve the project, worth up to $34.5 billion, and redirect funding to the state's health system.

So far only $2.3b has been allocated in the Victorian budget for early works and the opposition has vowed to honour any signed contracts.

Victoria's independent Parliamentary Budget Office last month released a report that found building the first two sections of the rail loop could set taxpayers back $125b, more than double the previous estimate.

Meanwhile, Rail Projects Victoria chief executive Evan Tattersall has announced he will step down at the end of this year.

Mr Tattersall has led the Victorian government's Metro Tunnel project since 2015, with a search for his replacement expected to take months.

The three consortia invited are CPB Contractors Pty Limited, Ghella Pty Ltd and Acciona Construction Australia Pty Ltd; John Holland Pty Ltd and Gamuda Berhad; and Webuild S.p.A and GS Engineering and Construction Australia Pty Ltd.