The Perth City Link project is steaming ahead with the first segments of rail now being laid in the Fremantle line tunnel directly under the city centre.
Transport Minister Troy Buswell, who inspected the construction site today, said the 600m long tunnel was complete and the next phase, the laying of adjacent rail lines, was under way.
Mr Buswell said the project was running on budget and may even be completed ahead of schedule.
He said track-laying was expected to be completed in time for the first passenger trains by late July.
“Perth City Link will fundamentally change the face of Perth and the way we use our city by sinking the rail, creating new connections between the CBD and Northbridge and bringing a vibrant new heart to the city centre.
“Together with Elizabeth Quay, the Riverside project, and the Perth Stadium, the Perth City Link is part of an era of transformation which will deliver benefits for generations of West Australians.”
The sinking of the Fremantle line is the first major step in the Perth City Link project which will reconnect the CBD with Northbridge and reinvigorate central Perth.
The $609 million project, which includes $236 million in funding from the Federal Government, was started in August 2011 and is expected to be completed by mid 2014.
Federal Resources Minister Gary Gray said the sinking of the line is the realisation of a decades-long dream of city supporters.
“It will make Perth an even more productive, sustainable and liveable city,” Mr Gray said.
“Sinking the Fremantle line will reunite the business district with Northbridge, and open up 50,000 square metres of land for new retail, commercial and residential developments.”