Top Infrastructure Projects in Australia
- Suburban Rail Loop (VIC), $50 Billion
- WestConnex (NSW), $16 Billion
- Sydney Metro (NSW), $12 Billion
- Snowy Hydro NSW, $12 Billion
- Melbourne Metro Tunnel (VIC), $11 Billion
- Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail (National), $9.3 Billion
- Bruce Highway Upgrade Program (QLD), $8.5 Billion
- West Gate Tunnel (VIC), $6.8 Billion
- Cross River Rail (QLD), $5.4 Billion
- Western Sydney Airport (NSW), $5.3 Billion
- Melbourne Airport Rail Link (VIC), $5 Billion
- Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan (NSW), $2.9 Billion
- M80 Ring Road Upgrade (VIC), $2.25 Billion
- METRONET (WA), $1.84 Billion
The Suburban Rail Loop (Victoria, $50 billion)
The Suburban Rail Loop (SLR) consists of a number of new sections of rapid transit train lines that aim to link up Melbourne's current metropolitan rail network. The completed loop will run from Werribee in the west to Cheltenham in the southeast, connecting the existing lines that run directly into the city in a ‘half-wagon wheel’ design.
The SLR was first announced in 2018, by Premier Daniel Andrews, as part of the Victorian Labor government's ‘Big Build’ program. The project is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever undertaken in Australia. By the time it is finished, it will greatly improve the rail network in suburban and metropolitan Melbourne, and reduce congestion on a number of existing lines.
How much will the suburban rail loop cost?
The budget for the suburban rail loop is roughly $50 billion. The Suburban Rail Loop: project overview states that estimated costs are $30.7 and $57.6 billion depending on project staging, of which capital costs would be between $24.1 and $45.1 billion. This makes it the most expensive infrastructure project in Australia, and more than double the cost of the Sydney Metro project, which is due to open in 2024.
However, The State Parliament’s budget office published a report in August 2022 that stated the cost of the project could inflate to around $125B.
How long will the suburban rail loop be?
The suburban rail loop will total 90km (roughly 60km without the airport line) of fully automated orbital metro line. It will link up 13 existing stations, with new underground platforms and stations to be built to accommodate the new lines. The rolling stock on the lines will be driverless trains. Much of the line in SRL North and SRL East will be underground.
When will the suburban rail loop open?
The first section of the SLR, between Cheltenham and Box Hill, is expected to open in 2035. This section includes 26km of underground tunnel, with double tracks and 6 new underground stations at existing locations. However, it is estimated that the entire project, including all the sections, will take about 25 years to complete.
How many people are working on the suburban rail loop?
According to the state government, the suburban rail loop project will create about 20,000 jobs. The Initial and Early Works package, which began in 2022, directly opened up 800 new positions. It is expected that there will be a broad range of jobs at many different levels on offer throughout the project.
What are the expected benefits of the suburban rail loop?
The primary benefit of the SRL is to make it much easier for commuters to travel east and west by train. Currently, all metro train lines in Melbourne converge in the city, and there are no east-to-west connections (only buses).
The Victorian state government details that when completed, the SRL will help boost access to jobs, create additional supporting infrastructure such as retail stores, greatly reduce travel times across the city, and continue to grow green spaces and cycling lanes.
The project timeline of the Suburban Rail Loop
The fact sheet page for the SRL offers an estimated timeline for the project.
- Project announcement
- SRLA announced.
- Planning and Development work.
- Market engagement
- Approval process.
- Investment case
- Business and investment case released
- Targeted start of works on SRL East.
- Expected completion of SRL East.
- Estimated completion of the entire project.
WestConnex (New South Wales, $16 billion)
The WestConnex project is a new motorway project in Sydney and is currently partially completed. The project involves the construction of 26 kilometres of new tunnels between Homebush and Kingsgrove. The new route runs beneath the inner-west suburbs, carrying traffic out of the city and removing congestion from roads in the inner-west.
WestConnex was first conceived in 2012 and approved by the government in 2013. It is a joint project between the NSW state government and the federal government. It’s the biggest toll road project in the country and lets Sydney drivers travel 50 kilometers without passing through a single set of traffic lights. That’s all the way from Penrith to the central business district.
The make-up of the project includes the following sections:
- Westconnex M4
- M5 East
- Westconnex M8
- Rozelle Interchange.
When will WestConnex be finished?
WestConnex was originally scheduled to be completed in 2023. However, the final stage of the program is now expected to be finished in 2024. Currently, a number of the sections are already open and operational. The widening of the M4 was completed in 2017 and M4 East, an extension of the existing M4, was completed and opened to the public in 2019.
The M8 Tunnel was finished in July 2020 and the M4-M8 Link, which is the inner-west bypass and connects the M4 and M8, was completed in January 2023. The Rozelle Interchange and the Iron Cove Link are scheduled to open in late 2023.
The Sydney Gateway project, which was originally a part of the WestConnex project but is now separate, has been pushed back to open in late 2024. Originally, this section was slated to open at the same time as the M4-M8 extension.
The benefits of WestConnex
The primary benefit of WestConnex is the much faster travel time from east to west and vice versa. It will also remove traffic congestion from a number of thoroughfares in the inner-west.
According to the project website, WestConnex frees up large areas that are being turned into 18 hectares of parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities. The project will also plant more than 1 million trees and plants. The technology used within the tunnels helps improve air quality in and around the tunnels themselves, once open.
The project expects to create an invaluable skills legacy, with thousands of workers learning valuable skills while working on WestConnex. These skills will be transferable to other infrastructure projects around the country. In total, more than 12,000 jobs have been created during the project.
Has WestConnex changed from its original design?
The project has experienced changes to the design and original scope of the project, first presented in 2012. These changes have included:
- Realignment of the M4 to M5 Link connection to the Western Harbour Tunnel project
- An expanded interchange at Rozelle
- Removal of the Camperdown Intersection
- Addition of the Iron Cove Link.
Despite these updates, the reported budget for the WestConnex project did not change after the revisions that were made in 2015.
How much did WestConnext cost?
The reported budget of WestConnex is $16.8 billion. Originally, in 2014, the project was slated to cost $14 billion. However, the estimated cost was updated to $16.8 billion in 2015, when a revised plan was released by the state government. The government maintains that the project has stayed on budget since 2015.
This audit, released in June 2021, explains that the project has been kept on budget only because the state government has been funding WestConnex-related projects outside the original project budget. The total amount of related works funded and not included in the WestConnext budget is $4.26 billion.
Therefore, the unofficial cost of the project is expected to be considerably more than the announced $16.8 billion, at around $21 billion. However, the City of Sydney council conducted its own analysis and claims the total expenses could hit $45 billion, putting it much closer to Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop ($50 billion) in total of costs.
Did the NSW state government sell WestConnex?
In 2018, the NSW government sold a 51 percent stake in WestConnex to Sydney Transport Partners for $9.26 billion. They sold the remaining 49 percent of the project to STR in 2021, for $11 billion. In total, the state government sold the entire project for more than $20 billion.
The buyer, SRT, is a 70% Australian-owned consortium that includes AustralianSuper, Transurban, Tawreed, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
The WestConnex project was broken up into 3 different stages, two of which are completed. Conception and planning began in 2012.
- WestConnex is first conceived by Infrastructure NSW.
- Business case is approved by the NSW state government.
- The state government creates the Sydney Motorway Corporation, which will fund, deliver, and operate WestConnex.
- The state government releases more detailed and updated designs, increasing the budget from $10 billion to $16 billion.
- Works begin on stage one.
- The M5 Interchange (King Georges Road Interchange) upgrade is completed.
- M4 East, also known as New M4, completed in July.
- The M8 Tunnel is completed in July.
- The M4-M8 Link, bypassing the inner-west, is completed in January.
- The Rozelle Interchange is expected to be opened in late 2023.
- The Iron Cove Link is expected to be opened in late 2023.
Sydney Metro (New South Wales, $12 billion)
Billed as ‘Australia’s biggest infrastructure project’, the Sydney Metro is a standalone rapid transit system consisting of 66km of track and 31 new stations. The majority of the Sydney Metro consists of underground tunnels and two-way tracks. The new rolling stock is completely automated and the system will be Australia’s first-ever fully automated metro rail system.
The project aims to link up the existing train network to create a better experience for commuters. The updated corporate plan states that their aim is ‘to deliver Sydney a connected metro service, providing more choice to customers and opportunities for our communities now and in the future’. The system will increase Sydney’s rail capacity by up to 60% by 2024.
The entire Sydney Metro system, when finished, will have the ability to run trains every two minutes through the Sydney CBD. At the moment, services during peak hour run at every four minutes (originally every five minutes), and every ten minutes outside peak hour.
The Sydney Metro project is made up of four new lines, each one being a separate stage of the Metro project:
- Metro North West Line
This was the first stage of the project and opened in May 2019. The Sydney Metro North West Line runs from Rouse Hill to Chatswood. It consists of 13 stations and will extend into the CBD when integrated with Metro City and South West Line.
- Metro City and South West Line
The next stage of the Sydney Metro project extends from Chatswood to Bankstown. It runs under Sydney Harbour, through new stations in the city, and then southwest to Bankstown. It includes 5 new stations and 11 upgraded stations. This stage is expected to open limited services in 2024, and then complete services to Bankstown in 2025.
- Sydney Metro West Line
This stage connects Greater Parramatta with the Sydney CBD. It includes 5 new stations and links up with existing stations. It includes 24 kilometres of twin tracks. Sydney Metro West is expected to open in 2030.
- Western Sydney Airport Line
The Western Sydney Airport line will service Nancy-Bird Walton International Airport in the city’s west. It connects St Marys and Bradfield with 23 kilometres of new track and is scheduled to open in 2026.
How much will the Sydney Metro project cost?
The budget of the Sydney Metro project has been the subject of some scrutiny by the media and the public. The estimated budgets can be broken down into stages:
- Metro North West Line $7.3 billion
- Metro City and South West $12.5 billion
- Metro West $25 billion*
- Western Sydney Airport Line $11 billion
*The figure for Metro West comes from NSW Premier Chris Minns. In an interview with ABC radio, Minns claims that when his government was elected in March 2023, it was revealed to him that the budget for Sydney Metro West had blown out to $25 billion.
This article puts the total price of the Sydney Metro network at $65 billion.
How many people worked on the Sydney Metro project?
So far, more than 22,000 people have worked on the Sydney Metro project in a range of roles. This number is expected to increase greatly, as works continue until at least 2030. It’s likely that many workers engaged on this project will continue to work on Sydney’s infrastructure projects, particularly rail projects.
The history of the Sydney Metro project
The first Sydney Metro project was conceived back in 2001. This was part of a ‘long-term strategic plan for rail’, by the then-Coordinator General of Rail. The idea was that a metro line, completely separate from the rest of Sydney’s train network, would be required past 2020 to accommodate commuters and increase what would be a strained capacity. However, the government later dismissed this project.
The Metro project resurfaced in 2007 and in 2008, the state government announced that it would build the North West Metro line. Construction would begin in 2010 and the project would be finished by 2017. However, when a new state premier took over later in 2008, the North West Metro project was cancelled. Instead, the government committed to a $4 billion CBD Metro, which would commence in 2010 and be completed in 2015.
The government continued to develop this project, spending $410 million before it was scrapped in 2010. It wasn’t until 2012 that a new coalition government announced the Sydney Rapid Transit system, as part of Sydney’s Rail Future. Planning commenced shortly after and in 2015 the project was renamed Sydney Metro.
The first section, Metro North West, opened on the 26th of May 2019.
Moving forward, there may be additional infrastructure projects
In February 2023, then-premier Dominic Perrottet announced that they would explore a further 100 kilometres of extensions for the new Sydney Metro network. However, Perrottet’s government was voted out in the following month.
Sydney Metro timeline
- The idea of a Sydney Metro is first suggested.
- The project resurfaces with a slightly different plan.
- The state government announces the Metro North West.
- A new government is elected and they scrap the plan.
- New state government announces CBD Metro.
- CBD Metro is scrapped after $410 million is already spent on its development.
- State government announces Sydney Rapid Transit
- Construction begins on Metro North West.
- Sydney Rapid Transit is renamed to Sydney Metro.
- Metro North West completed and opened to the public.
Snowy Hydro 2.0 (New South Wales, $12 billion)
Snowy Hydro 2.0 is the largest energy project in the country.
Snowy Hydro 2.0 is the new generation of the Snowy scheme, which already comprises nine power stations, 16 dams, 80 kilometres of aqueducts, and 145 kilometres of tunnels. Snowy 2.0 will add a connection between two dams in the form of a 27-kilometre tunnel, as well as a new, underground pumped hydro power station. The project was announced in May 2017.
This infrastructure project is an important part of the federal government’s national target of 82% renewable energy by 2030. Currently, one-third of all power across the nation is produced by solar and wind. To achieve the target of 82% by 2030, other types of renewable energy, like hydro, are essential.
You can take a virtual tour of the project here.
The history of the Snowy River Scheme
The first Snowy Hydro Scheme began construction in 1949 and was finished in 1974. 100,000 workers from 30 different countries were involved in the original project. It has become a national symbol of cooperation, and the workforce included tens of thousands of migrants from post-war Europe. Once it was completed, the national power grid received an enormous boost and the scheme has been producing electricity ever since.
When was Snowy Hydro 2.0 announced?
Snowy Hydro 2.0 was first announced in 2017. However, the very first iterations of the project were actually discussed back in 1966, while the original Snowy Scheme was still being built. Studies were conducted in 1980 and 1990, to see if the upgrades could take place. Finally, Snowy Hydro 2.0 was locked in by the Turnbull government, as part of their climate change policy in 2017.
When will Snowy Hydro 2.0 be finished?
Snowy Hydro 2.0 was originally expected to be finished in 2024, with a total budget of $2 billion. However, the most recent announcements detail that the project will not start delivering power until 2028, and will not be completely online until late 2029. The Snowy 2.0 project has been hampered by several delays, notably the pandemic.
These delays, as well as budgetary inflation, have brought about plenty of criticism from the public. The global pandemic caused a number of supply chain issues, but other elements have contributed, including geological conditions, problems with complex design elements, and a collapsed contracting company. A tunnel boring machine even became stuck for four months in soft rock, adding further delays.
Many people have voiced concern that the project will not be completed by the time five more coal-fired power plants are due to close. These plants were to be covered by renewables, including Snowy Hydro 2.0. However, there remains a chance that their closure could be pushed back due to the delays.
How much will Snowy Hydro 2.0 cost?
The Snowy Hydro 2.0 project has experienced a number of unforeseen budget increases. Originally budgeted at $2 billion, so far $5.9 billion has been spent on the project (early 2023). Some estimates state that the project will end up costing upwards of $12 billion once it has been completed, six times more than the original budget.
How many people are working on Snowy 2.0?
The project will generate around 4,000 jobs in total, as well as thousands more in supply chain and services roles.
Snowy Hydro 2.0 timeline
- A committee is formed to discuss the development of water resources in the Snowy Mountains.
- Construction begins on the Snowy Scheme.
- The first mention of the upgrades to power stations on-site (would become Snowy 2.0).
- The original Snowy Scheme is completed.
- Snowy Hydro 2.0 is announced by the Turnbull government.
- Construction commences on Snowy Hydro 2.0.
- Snowy Hydro 2.0 is expected to come online for the first time.
Melbourne Metro Tunnel (Victoria, $11 billion)
The Melbourne Metro Tunnel is a cross-city rail tunnel that will allow services to travel from Sunbury in the northwest to Cranbourne/Pakenham in the southeast, on one continuous line. The project is part of Victoria’s Big Build scheme, which also includes the West Gate Tunnel, the Suburban Rail Loop, and the North East Link.
Currently, all Melbourne metropolitan train services must pass through Flinders Street station. However, creating a tunnel that links multiple lines will allow services to avoid congestion and continue through the city. This will increase capacity on a number of lines, and allow more services to run across the city.
The Premier’s office states that the tunnel will allow for an additional 500,000 passengers on Melbourne’s rail network, every single week.
The Melbourne Metro Tunnel will be 9 kilometres long when completed and includes five new underground stations. This will make it easier for the public to commute within the city region, and not just from or to suburban areas. The five new stations are:
- Arden Station
- Parkville Station
- State Library Station
- Town Hall Station
- ANZAC Station.
It will take roughly 10 minutes to travel from Arden Station to ANZAC Station.
How much will the Melbourne Metro Tunnel cost?
The estimated budget of the project currently sits at between $9 billion and $11 billion. It has remained on budget since work first started in 2019. The approved budget as of May 2022 was $12.58 billion, though the project is aiming to come in under budget. This will be a great outcome for the state government, as the suburban rail loop looks as though it will be much more expensive than first thought.
When will the Melbourne Metro Tunnel be finished?
According to the state government, the Melbourne Metro Tunnel will open in 2025. This is one year ahead of schedule. Tunnelling first began in 2019 and was completed in 2021. Since then, works have included station construction and fit-out, laying tracks, and continuous safety testing, among many others.
How many people are working on the Melbourne Metro Tunnel?
The Metro Tunnel project has created around 7,000 jobs. At the time of writing, the project has taken 40 million working hours since construction began in 2019. The Premier’s office also claims that for every 100 jobs on the Metro Tunnel (and any other project on Victoria’s Big Build), another 200 jobs are supported across the economy.
It was originally expected that the tunnelling phase of the Metro Tunnel could cause a number of environmental problems. This article that appeared in The Age back in 2016 explained that CBD residents and Metro workers could be put at risk by:
- Asbestos particles in the soil
- Harmful vapours and gases
- Contaminated groundwater.
Throughout the project, an Environmental Management Framework has been maintained to ensure safety at every stage and to protect the surrounding environment. The project has also championed the use of recycled materials, and the rock and earth removed during the tunnelling phase were removed and processed by a certified facility. The soil can then be used in a range of applications.
More than one million artifacts were also found during the early stages of construction. These items date back to the very first European settlement in Melbourne, and include items like wheel ruts, cesspits, bluestone footings, and timber structures of cottages, shops, hotels, and pubs. All of the items that were of significance were removed and are now on display.
Melbourne Metro Tunnel timeline
- First suggestion of a 17km underground rail tunnel below Melbourne’s CBD.
- Revised plan suggested by Liberal government, known as the Metro Tunnel.
- Disputes between federal and state governments over budget.
- The state government begins planning the project.
- Initial construction works commence.
- Anticipated opening date (early).
- Original expected opening date.
Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail (National, $9.3 billion)
The Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail is a national infrastructure project that aims to link Melbourne and Brisbane through 1,700km of heavy freight rail. The project involves building a number of new sections of track, as well as linking existing tracks along the route. When finished, the Inland Rail will allow freight to be sent between the two cities at a much faster rate.
The Inland Rail will allow freight trains to travel between Beveridge in Victoria and Ebenezer in Queensland, in less than 24 hours. Currently, this trip takes far longer. Ultimately, the project will reduce congestion on the roads also, as it will reduce the number of freight trucks carrying cargo between Queensland and Victoria, by about 200,000 annually.
The larger project has been divided into 13 sub-projects, across Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.
When did the Inland Rail project begin?
There have been discussions about linking up the freight rail system between Queensland and Victoria since the 1880s. However, no project was ever committed to. In 2005, the federal government conducted a study into the feasibility of an inland freight route, to divert trains off the current coastal route, from Junee in New South Wales to Brisbane. They explored four main routes in this study.
Following a series of reports from 2006 to 2010, the Gillard government finally approved funding for the project in 2011. The expected commencement date would be in 2014. However, construction on the Inland Rail as we now know it, did not start until December 2018. Since then, construction has continued across the various sub-projects, in all three states.
How much will Inland Rail cost?
The Coalition government committed to Inland Rail in 2017. At the time, the expected budget was $9.3 billion. However, since then, the budget has blown out enormously. In 2020, the project budget was reassessed and the cost was revised to $16.4 billion, with an expected completion date of 2026/27. In mid-2023, the budget was adjusted again to a staggering $31.4 billion, and a finish date of 2030/31.
These budget increases are generally due to poorly managed projects, according to Dr Kerry Schott. Schott released a report with 19 recommendations to improve the management of the project, which the Albanese government announced they would accept and implement into the project.
How many people worked on Inland Rail?
So far, more than 3,700 workers have been involved in the project. The core team is made up of 300 people, and Inland Rail expects that thousands more jobs will be created throughout the economy, and on the project itself.
When will Inland Rail be finished?
The Inland Rail team states that the stretch of rail between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes in NSW will be finished by 2027. Originally, the entire project was to be completed by 2026/27, however, the focus is now on this stretch. The entire Inland Rail system is now expected to be finished by 2030/31.
Key facts about Inland Rail
Here are some key facts about Inland Rail.
- Inland Rail is the biggest freight rail project in Australia. It also ranks as one of the most significant freight projects in the world.
- The project covers 30 government areas, with one section in Victoria, seven sections in New South Wales, and four sections in Queensland.
- The entire system is made up of 1,000 kilometres of existing train tracks, and more than 600 kilometres of new tracks.
- Rail freight time from Brisbane to Melbourne and vice versa will be cut from 33 hours to 24 hours.
- The project will connect the two cities with a standard gauge connection, while also building a dual gauge connection in QLD to connect with the existing narrow gauge network.
- 70% of the freight carried on the Inland Rail system will consist of goods like food and household items.
- The new track system allows double-stacked, 1,800 metre long trains with a 21-tonne axle load. These trains will be able to travel at a top speed of 115 kilometres per hour.
Inland Rail timeline
This is the timeline of the Inland Rail project thus far.
- The North-South Corridor Study analyses 4 potential routes for Inland Rail.
- The Federal Budget grants a funding allocation of $300 million for pre-construction activities.
- The federal government announces that Inland Rail would be delivered by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) in partnership with the private sector.
- Federal government brings total funding allocation for the project to $9.3 billion.
- Construction begins on the Parkes to Narromine section of the project, in New South Wales.
- The first section of the Inland Rail, from Parkes to Narromine in New South Wales, is completed.
- Total budget for Inland Rail revised to $16.4 billion.
- Budget revised again to $31.4 billion and finish date now expected to be 2030/31.
Bruce Highway Upgrade Program (Queensland, $8.5 billion)
The Bruce Highway Upgrade Program aims to greatly improve the stretch of highway from Brisbane, to Cairns. It’s the largest road infrastructure project in Queensland, and will improve safety, flood resilience, and vehicle capacity between the two major urban centres. The project encompasses 1,700 kilometres of road, connecting several towns along the Queensland coastline.
Every day, it’s estimated that 160,000 vehicles travel between Moreton Bay and North Brisbane, on the Gateway Motorwa, Bruce Highway, and Gympie Arterial Road. At the moment, these main arteries can cope with this traffic, though safety and capacity are issues at times. However, the coastal area is expected to experience large population growth in the coming years. By 2041, current traffic levels are expected to increase by 50%.
The state and federal governments both foresaw the need for extensive upgrades to this main thoroughfare, and the Bruce Highway upgrade program was approved.
What improvements does the project include?
The main works include a range of road improvements. This includes expanding road capacity with added lanes, improved shoulders, additional onramps, roundabouts, and much more.
What are the benefits of the Bruce Highway Upgrades?
The Bruce Highway Upgrades will come with extensive benefits for road users and the surrounding population. These benefits also extend to the freight operations of the 11 ports that are positively impacted by the by the highway upgrades. The benefits of the upgrade program include, but are not limited to:
- Improved safety for drivers and pedestrians
- Increased capacity across 1,700 kilometres of important roads
- Improved efficiency across some of the biggest thoroughfares in the country
- A reduction of peak hour traffic in a number of urban areas
- Improved access to arterial roads
- A reduction in travel time across Queensland’s road network
- More essential regional growth
- Better active public transport, particularly across bus networks.
Impacts of the project
The Bruce Highway Upgrade Project comes with a range of impacts across many different areas, as expected with such a large infrastructure project.
The controlling body announced that there would be an expected impact for property owners in the vicinity of the upgrades. The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads was forced to acquire land from homeowners for some sections of the upgrades. There may be further impact to property owners before the upgrades are complete.
The Bruce Highway upgrades have had an impact on surrounding wetlands and park areas. Some of the land in these areas was also acquired as part of the upgrades. However, the state government remains committed to minimising these impacts as much as possible by working with local environmental and community groups where possible.
10 years of Bruce Highway upgrades
On the 1st of July 2023, the project hit its 10 year anniversary.
The Queensland state government announced the following milestones:
- 109 new bridges
- 63 new and upgraded rest areas
- 420km roadside safety barriers
- 72 township entry treatments
- 235km wide centre line treatments
- 102km pavement rehabilitation
- 95 new overtaking lanes
- 189 protected right-hand turns
- 42km of highway duplication
- 7 flood immunity upgrade projects completed.
When will the Bruce Highway Upgrade Program be finished?
The program was launched on the 1st of July, 2023. At the time of writing, it has been 10 years since the upgrade works commenced. While the dates may change, it is expected that the slated works on the Bruce Highway will be finished by 2027/28.
How many people worked on the project
So far, the Bruce Highway project has created thousands of jobs. This article states that 2000 jobs have been created, just on the section of works between Brisbane and Gympie. Over the 15 year period that the project is expected to run, there will be many more jobs across many different disciplines.
West Gate Tunnel (Victoria, $6.8 billion)
The West Gate Tunnel project is a four-kilometre toll road that will run beneath Yarraville, linking the West Gate Freeway to CityLink. This will allow vehicles to bypass the West Gate Bridge, cutting down travel times and reducing traffic congestion. The project is being delivered by the West Gate Tunnel Authority, in partnership with Transurban, an engineering consultancy company.
The West Gate Tunnel was first proposed by Transurban in 2014. Their plan outlined two tunnels of three lanes each, which would divert traffic from the West Gate Bridge and off residential streets in the inner-western suburbs. Their plans also included another bridge over the Maribyrnong River and an elevated road above Footscray Road.
The project also involves widening the West Gate Freeway from 8 lanes to 12 lanes from the Western Ring Road to the beginning of the West Gate Bridge.
When did the West Gate Tunnel start?
The Victorian government announced in 2015 that they would go ahead with the proposed West Gate Tunnel project. Construction first began in January 2018, on both the tunnel and the elevated tollway. Originally, the project was scheduled to be completed in September 2022.
How much will the West Gate Tunnel cost?
The estimated cost of the project when it was first proposed in 2014 was $5.5 billion. In December 2021, this budget was revised to approximately $10 billion, and both the state government and Transurban pledged more money towards the project. As of 2023, the expected total cost could be up to $11.9 billion.
There has also been significant controversy around Transurban’s expected financial benefits. The company originally received a contract to manage the toll contract up to at least 2035. However, this was extended 10-15 years to at least 2045, after Transurban contributed further funding to the project.
The Victorian parliament’s independent budget office delivered a report in 2019 that stated Transurban stands to make an extra $37 billion by managing the new CityLink tolls and tolls on the new West Gate Tunnel project.
What are the environmental impacts of the project?
The West Gate Tunnel project suffered from delays of more than a year because of uncertainty about where to dump contaminated soil. The Victorian Environmental Protection Agency originally gave the approval to dump the tainted soil at the Maddingley Brown Coal site in Bacchus Marsh. However, it was later found that the EPA didn’t have the power to do so.
In 2021, the state government, along with Transurban and the EPA, decided on a site in Bulla, in Melbourne’s northwest. The local community was very critical and remained concerned about the impact of the contaminated soil, as well as the large number of trucks on local roads. Environmental impact continues to be a focus point of the project.
Much of the soil removed during the project is contaminated with per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS. These compounds present significant health risks to anyone exposed over a period of time. Therefore, a safe and secure area had to be found for dumping the soil.
When will the West Gate Tunnel be finished?
The project was originally scheduled to finish in September 2022. However, due to a number of delays, primarily caused by issues with contaminated soil, the tunnel is not expected to open until at least 2025. This date may be later.
How many people are working on the West Gate Tunnel project?
The project has included at least 3,700 employees of all kinds. The total number of people who have worked on the project will likely exceed 5,000 before it is completed in 2025.
West Gate Tunnel project timeline
- Transurban proposes the West Gate Tunnel project in place of the West Gate Distributor project.
- Victorian state government announces that they will be proceeding with the West Gate Tunnel project and scrapping the West Gate Distributor project.
- Planning approvals for the project are granted.
- Construction commences on the tunnel and bridge, and West Gate Freeway widening begins
- North Yarra Main Sewer is realigned, and acoustic wall installation for the freeway begins.
- Tunnelling for both tunnels begins.
- Original scheduled year of completion.
Cross River Rail (Queensland, $5.4 billion)
The Cross River Rail project is a brand new 10.2 kilometre rail line in Brisbane. It will carry commuters from Dutton Park to Bowen Hills, and includes 5.9 kilometres of of twin tunnels. These tunnels will run beneath the Brisbane River and the central business district. The project aims to remove the current ‘bottleneck’ in the Brisbane transport network, making it much easier for commuters to move in and out of the city.
Cross River Rail also consists of a range of other works, including the redevelopment of stations in the Brisbane CBD and on the Beenleigh railway line. The entire project aims to accelerate growth in and around Brisbane city, improving life for commuters and diverting more traffic away from roads and onto public transport. At the time of writing, major works continue on the Cross River Rail project, with tunnel boring having been completed in 2021.
The Queensland government also commissioned the construction of 65 trains, all of which are New Generation Rollingstock (NGR). These trains are being built in a purpose-built facility in Maryborough, and the total cost for all 65 trains is listed as $7.1 billion.
It is expected that construction will be completed in 2025, and the lines will be operational by 2026.
When did Cross River Rail start?
The business case for the project was first presented in August 2017. The project moved quickly, and the first works were started the next month, in September 2017. Originally, the Cross River Rail project was first proposed in 2010. However, this earlier iteration was quite different and was replaced by the BaT tunnel proposal in 2013. Eventually, a remodeled version of the Cross River Rail was approved.
What new stations are being built for Cross River Rail?
The project includes the construction of four new train stations in the Brisbane CBD. These new stations are Boggo Road, Woolloongabba, Albert Street, and Roma Street. The CBD works also include significant upgrades to Exhibition Station. Previously, Exhibition Station was only open a few times a year, for special events. However, after the planned upgrades, it will be in use all year round.
How much will Cross River Rail cost?
As of March 2023, the total budget of the Cross River Rail project stands at $6.3 billion. Originally, the entire project was priced at about $5.4 billion. However, this blowout of $960 million was unavoidable due to the economic climate, according to Transport Minister Mark Bailey.
When will Cross River Rail be finished?
The project is now expected to be open to the public in the first quarter of 2026. This is roughly three months later than the original opening date of late 2025.
What are the benefits of the Cross River Rail?
The benefits of the Cross River Rail are numerous, according to the project website. Creating better access between the city and less built-up areas will promote opportunities for urban renewal and accelerate positive development. Estimates suggest that activating a number of city precincts could have economic benefits of between $15 billion and $20 billion over the next 20 years, while also creating up to 35,000 jobs.
For commuters, the expected benefits are enormous. Those travelling to the southern CBD are expected to save up to 15 minutes of travel time. Sports fans heading to the Gabba will be able to save around 20 minutes, and tourists and day trippers heading to Queen Street Mall, Eagle Street Pier, or other CBD locations, can save around 10 minutes with ease.
In the long term, it’s expected that the Cross River Rail will open up opportunities for larger network expansions across South East Queensland. This is an incredibly important consideration for a growing region, in terms of population and urban sprawl. Along with the Cross River Rail, Queensland continues to build new and exciting infrastructure projects.
Environmental concerns and sustainability
There have been a number of environmental concerns throughout the Cross River Rail project. However, many of these were expected. One concern that halted work in June 2021 was the potential presence and spread of silica dust that was coming out of the tunnel on a conveyor belt. This concern was raised by tunnel workers, and similar concerns were raised again in March of 2023. These issues are ongoing.
The program includes a number of sustainable and green initiatives. For instance, much of the earth spoil removed from the tunnel digging process is used to make bricks at a brickworks in Rochedale. These bricks will be used to build houses in South East Queensland, as the population continues to boom in this region.
Connections from all over the region
The cross-river rail is part of a much bigger project, which aims to connect trains from all over southeast Queensland at Roma Street stations. According to an ABC article:
Sector One will connect the Gold and Sunshine Coasts directly, operating trains from Varsity Lakes and Beenleigh through to Redcliffe Peninsula, Nambour and Gympie. Sector Two will link the Rosewood and Springfield lines through Central to the domestic airport and Shorncliffe. Sector Three will run Ferny Grove trains through Central and Southbank to Cleveland.
The Cross River Rail timeline
- The first plans for a rail tunnel beneath the river appear. This original plan also included two new train stations.
- A revised plan is delivered by the newly elected Newman Government. This version of the project is scaled down, and cheaper. Suggested completion by 2020.
- Another version of the tunnel appears, this time suggesting a combined bus and train tunnel, called the BaT. Suggested completion by 2021.
- The Cross River Rail project was first proposed in its current form.
- In June, the Queensland Government allocated $2.8 billion to start works.
- Construction begins in September,
- Demolition works commence at the Brisbane Transit Centre, on Roma Street.
- Originally expected to be open to the public in late 2025.
- Cross River Rail is expected to be open to the public in the first quarter of 2026.
Western Sydney Airport (NSW, $5.3 billion)
The Western Sydney Airport project involves the construction of a brand new international airport in the western suburbs of Sydney, named Nancy-Bird Walton Airport.
The need for a second international airport in Sydney has arisen due to Kingsford-Smith reaching flight capacity. This is mainly due to caps on the number of flights arriving and departing, as well as the curfew. No flights are permitted to land or take off at Kingsford-Smith between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., due to its proximity to residential areas.
Unlike Kingsford-Smith Airport, Western Sydney Airport will operate without a curfew, with flights arriving and departing at all hours. It’s expected that the airport will be operational with a single runway by 2026. The new airport will be able to accommodate millions of passengers a year, with a second runway to be added when required.
The airport had a few different iterations of plans, updated in 2020 and 2021. However, most of the changes that were included in these plans were quite minor, aside from the inclusion of Sydney Metro assets in the 2021 changes. Multiplex, a well-known Australian company, was awarded the contract to build the terminal for the new airport.
According to Infrastructure Pipeline, when the airport is finished it will include:
- A single 3.7-kilometre runway
- Aprons, taxiways and other appropriate aviation facilities
- A terminal with a floor area of up to 90,000 square metres
- Car-parking facilities for around 11,500 cars
- Onsite roads and utilities.
When will the Western Sydney Airport be open?
It’s expected that Nancy-Bird Walton will be open for domestic and international flights, as well as cargo flights, by late 2026. However, many critics claim this is much too late as there have been calls for two international airports to service Sydney since the 1940’s.
How many passengers can Western Sydney Airport handle?
When Nancy-Bird Walton opens, it will be able to cater for up to 10 million passengers a year. It is expected to handle around 5 million passengers annually at first, and is slated to hit its capacity of 10 million per year by 2031. The project has loft ambitions, tailored to the needs to Sydneysiders and the Australian aviation industry; by 2063, the airport will be able to accommodate 82 million passengers annually.
How will the Western Sydney Airport benefit the city?
The new domestic and international airport will cut down travel times enormously, for those living in the western part of Sydney. This represents a huge portion of Sydney’s population. Nancy-Bird Walton will allow flights to land and arrive at all hours of the day, reducing congestion at Kingsford-Smith, and allowing a greater number of flights and services for Sydneysiders. This may also have an impact on air traffic in Melbourne and Brisbane.
The terminal itself will ‘offer passengers and airlines an experience unrivalled among Australian airports’, according to the project website. This includes comfortable design, ease of navigation, exceptional customer service, and a less stressful airport experience for travellers. The design of the airport will draw greatly from the region's natural beauty and rich Aboriginal culture and heritage.
Sustainability & culture
There has been a strong focus on sustainable practices, as well as cultural integration throughout the design process. The designers have consulted closely with local Aboriginal communities, and this collaboration will be reflected in the appearance and layout of the departures and arrivals terminals.
Design principles will draw greatly on natural elements like light and airflow, which creates a more comfortable environment, and reduces energy consumption. Carbon emissions have also been a focus during the design process. Every effort has been made to ensure emissions are kept to a minimum once the airport is operational.
Along with this, thorough environmental assessments were conducted on the site of the airport in 2015 and 2016. These assessments ensure that the right measures are taken to reduce any impact on the surrounding communities, both during construction and when Western Sydney Airport becomes operational.
Accessing Nancy-Bird Walton Airport
Travelling to Western Sydney Airport will be relatively easy for residents in every part of the city. The Sydney Metro project includes a new direct line to the airport, which aims to be operational as soon as the airport opens to the public. The M12 Motorway will connect the airport to Sydney’s motorway at the M7 in the east and The Northern Road in the west.
How many people will work on the project?
Roughly 2,700 workers will be involved in bringing the Western Sydney Airport project to life. However, the project will create a huge number of jobs both directly and indirectly, going forward. Estimates include 28,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2031, with that number projected to be about 48,000 by 2041.
Western Sydney Airport timeline
- The NSW government announces that they will build a second international airport at Badgerys Creek.
- The NSW government spends $170 million acquiring 4,400 acres of land in the area for the new airport.
- A third runway is opened at Kingsfor-Smith Airport, removing the immediate need for another international airport. Plans for the Western Sydney Airport halt.
- Planning for a second international airport begins again.
- A 3,200 page joint study by the state and federal governments is released, determining that the Badgerys Creek area is indeed the best spot for a second airport.
- The federal government announces that a second international airport would be built upon this site in Western Sydney.
- Early earth works began in September.
- The federal government announces that the new Western Sydney Airport would be named Nancy-Bird Walton, after the famous Australian aviator of the same name.
- A light plane makes an emergency landing on earthworks at the site… unexpectedly.
- Multiplex is awarded the contract to build Western Sydney Airport
- QANTAS reaches an agreement with the airport to launch QANTAS and Jetstar services as soon as the airport opens.
- Nancy-Bird Walton is expected to be open to the public.
Melbourne Airport Rail Link (Victoria, $5 billion)
The Melbourne Airport Rail Link will connect Melbourne International Airport to Melbourne’s metropolitan train network. The project website states that commuters will be able to get from the airport to the central business district in around 30 minutes. This project has been plagued by stops and starts since it was first conceptualised back in the late 1950s when the foundations of Tullamarine Airport were still being laid.
Melbourne Airport is currently only accessible by Tullamarine Freeway, and the only public transport available is by bus. In the four years before the pandemic, the airport was servicing roughly 35 million domestic and international passengers annually. Since the pandemic, numbers have fallen drastically, but are on the rise. There is an enormous demand for an airport rail link in Melbourne as there has been for many years now.
From October 2022, the Melbourne Airport Rail Link was considered part of the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL). The route will run from the airport, connecting to Sunshine station, and then on through the new Metro Tunnel. The new line will include 12 kilometres of double track, a new station at Keilor East, a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River, as well as multiple sections of elevated track.
The project is broken up into different sub-projects or ‘packages’, including:
- Airport Station Package
- Viaduct Package
- Corridor Package
- Maribyrnong River Bridge Package
- Sunshine to Albion Package, and
- Rail Systems Package.
When will the Melbourne Airport Rail Link be finished?
The Melbourne Airport Rail Link was originally scheduled to be completed by 2029. However, as of May 2023, contracted works on the airport rail link have been paused. Workers have been removed from the project and redeployed to other projects on the Big Build schedule, such as the Metro Tunnel and North East Link.
How much will the Airport Rail Link cost?
Early estimates for the total budget stood at around $5 billion. However, in 2018, the Turnbull federal government pledged $5 billion towards the project to match $5 billion provided by the state government. It was thought that with additional private investment, the total budget could reach $15 billion.
However, the current total budget of the rail link is still estimated to be $10 billion. The broader range is generally thought to be between $8 billion and $13 billion. $5 billion of the budget for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link is now being funded by the Federal Government, as promised by the Turnbull government. As of May 2023, $1 billion had already been spent on pre-construction activities.
Delays on the Melbourne Airport Rail Link
The Melbourne Airport Rail Link has suffered significant delays since planning first began. An Infrastructure Australia report suggested delaying the project because the investment was not worth it. The report found that every dollar invested would only see a return of 50 cents. They suggested that the rail link would not see any advantage created until the Tullamarine Freeway reaches capacity, which is estimated to happen in 2036.
In April of 2023, then-premier Daniel Andrews confirmed fresh delays on the project. Jacinta Allen, minister for transport in Victoria at the time, stated that the delays were due to slow negotiations with Melbourne Aiport itself. The airport is owned and managed by a private operator, hence the delays.
How many people will work on the Melbourne Airport Rail Link?
It’s estimated that the project will create roughly 8,000 jobs in all capacities. However, this number will be spread over the entire life of the project. It appears that now, the project will not be delivered by 2029.
Timeline of the airport rail link
- The route of the new line, via Sunshine station, is confirmed.
- Site investigations begin.
- Community and stakeholder engagement commences.
- Planning and design continues.
- Engagement with local communities continues.
- Planning approval process.
- Construction starts on first stages.
- Fresh delays announced, workers diverted to other projects.
Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan (NSW, $4.1 billion)
The Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan is a collection of projects designed to improve the road system in the western part of the city. The works are aimed to span over a period of 10 years, and will include brand new and upgraded roads. According to the project site, Western Sydney is Australia’s third largest economy, and the number of people living in the region is projected to grow 50%, from 2 to 3 million, over the next 20 years.
Improving the road systems in Western Sydney will make this population growth much more sustainable, and provide numerous benefits and opportunities to people and the economy. It will make accessing and traversing the region much easier, and will link the rest of the city with the West like never before. On top of that, the plan includes road upgrades and access to the new Western Sydney Airport.
When did the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan start?
Works officially started in January 2015, on the Bringelly Road upgrade.
The first plans for the infrastructure plan were put forward in April 2014, with a reduced scope. However, the plan was quickly expanded to include a number of other upgrades, ending up with a projected budget of around $4.1 billion. The funding has been split between each of the different projects, as required.
What does Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan look like?
The plan includes a number of new roads and upgrades to existing roads. The focus is on main arterial roads, but the plan also includes funding and upgrades for local roads.
Werrington Arterial Road was the first major project completed as part of the plan. It was opened to traffic in May 2017 and delivers much safer access between the M4 Motorway and the Great Western Highway.
Bringelly Road upgrade was the first part of the project to commence works. The 10 kilometre stretch is to be delivered in two stages, between Camden Valley Way and The Northern Road at Bringelly. Works on Stage 1 were completed in November 2019.
The Northern Road upgrade is the second most expensive part of the project, with a budget of $1.6 billion. The works involved upgrading the 35 kilometre stretch of road between The Old Northern Road at Narellan and Jamieson Road at South Penrith. The road was to be widened to a minimum of four lanes, and the project was delivered across six different stages. The final stage was completed in March 2021.
The M12 Motoway is a brand new 16 kilometre stretch of road that will connect the new Western Sydney Airport with Sydney’s existing motorway network, via the M7 Motorway. Construction on this part of the project began in August 2022, and it is expected to be completed by 2026, before the new international airport opens.
The Glenbrook Intersection Upgrade, where the Great Western Highway and Ross Street meet, included new traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, and closing access from Hare Street in the south. These works made the intersection safer and improved the flow of traffic, and were completed in October 2018.
A Local Roads Package is also included in the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan. This package includes $200 million of finding for local councils in the area. The money is to be spent to improve and upgrade local roads where required.
Biodiversity in the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan
Transport NSW runs a biodiversity offsetting program, as part of the plan. This involves enticing landowners to enter a biodiversity stewardship scheme and so far includes 1.1 million hectares of property in the surrounding areas. This helps to compensate for some of the land acquired for road upgrades and improvements.
How much will the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan cost?
The total budget of the plan is approximately $4.1 billion. $3.3 billion comes from the federal government, while $820 million has been committed by the New South Wales state government. As of 2023, all projects under the plan have been completed, except for the M12 Motorway, which will be finished before 2026. Therefore, all remaining funding has been allocated to these works.
How many people are working on the project?
The Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan is expected to support around 4,000 jobs throughout the lifetime of the project. This includes direct and indirect jobs.
Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan timeline
- The first project plans are submitted.
- Project confirmed, with an expanded budget and scope of work.
- First works commence on Bringelly Road project and Werrington Arterial Road.
- Werrington Arterial Road works completed and open to traffic in May 2017. This is the first project under the plan to be finished.
- Works and improvements for Glenbrook Intersection at Ross Street completed in November.
- Stage 1 of the Bringelly Road upgrades open to traffic in December.
- Stage 2 of Bringelly Road upgrades completed in December.
- The final stage of The Northern Road opens to traffic in late 2021.
- Works continue on the M12 Motorway.
- Expected end date for M12 Motoway, before the opening of Nancy-Bird Walton International Airport.
M80 Ring Road Upgrade (VIC, $2.25 billion)
The M80 Ring Road Upgrade was a series of works that aim to increase capacity on the one of the most important roads in Melbourne. Currently, roughly 165,000 motorists use this road each day, travelling between the east and the west of the northern part of Melbourne.
The project included widening the freeway in a number of sections, widening on and off ramps for better accessibility, and installing a new freeway management system along 38 kilometres of road, from Laverton North to Greensborough, where the Ring Road currently ends. Once complete, these works greatly improved the flow of traffic and reduced delays during peak hours will be reduced.
On average, drivers heading towards Greensborough save about 15 minutes, while drivers Altona-bound save up to 10 minutes of travel time through peak hours. There have been near constant works and improvements on the M80 Ring Road over the past twenty years. The most recent series of works won the Australian Construction Achievement Award.
What has been completed so far?
The M80 Ring Road Upgrade project is divided into a number of different stages, each one reflecting a length of the road itself. The completed sections include the following:
Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway
The Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway segment was opened to traffic in September 2018. The majority of works on this section involved widening the road significantly. Completed works included:
- Widening the road to 4 lanes in each direction.
- Widening the road to 5 lanes in each direction across the EJ Whitten Bridge, all the way to the Calder Freeway.
Edgars Road to Plenty Road
Works on this section were completed in 2014 and the road was fully opened to the public in April of the same year. The completed works included:
- An additional lane in both directions, totalling 3 lanes in each direction.
- An extra lane added between interchanges.
- Widening and strengthening the bridge for added lanes.
- Resurfacing works to create a safer experience for motorists.
- Adding traffic lights to entry ramps.
- Adding a new freeway management system..
Western Highway to Furlong Road and Sunshine Avenue
Works on this stage were finished in 2013 and the section was open for use in August 2013. The completed works included:
- The addition of two lanes in each direction.
- Widening and strengthening the bridge over Furlong Road to accommodate the two additional lanes.
Calder Freeway to Sydney Road
This section was completed and opened to traffic in May 2013. The works conducted included:
- Widening the road to allow for 3 lanes in both directions.
- Reconfiguring interchanges.
- Construction of five new bridges.
- Added new entry and exit ramps.
- Widening 12 existing bridges to accommodate additional lanes.
- Adding a new freeway management system.
Sydney Road to Edgars Road
This section is the latest to be completed and opened. It was finished and accessible by mid-2022 and the works completed included:
- The addition of two new lanes in each direction between Sydney Road and Edgars Road.
- The installation of a smart freeway management system to help manage traffic flow.
- Extension of Sydney Road on and off ramps, allowing drivers extra time to merge, thereby increasing safety and improving motorists’ experience.
- Better access to the M80 Ring Road and Edgars Road from the Hume Freeway.
- Ramp-metering technology installed to manage traffic flow.
- Upgrades to cycling and pedestrian bridge.
The next stage in the life of the M80 Ring Road is the Ring Road Completion. This series of works will seamlessly connect the Ring Road to the new North East Link tunnel, via an underground Grimshaw Street interchange. This stage will include 5 new lanes, and the integration of smart technology.
The Ring Road Upgrade project has achieved a number of significant steps in sustainability. The most notable is that it is the first Australian freeway to incorporate recycled content in every single pavement layer. This is representative of the strong sustainability strategy that was evident throughout the whole planning, design, and construction process.
How many people worked on the project?
Thousands of workers have been employed on the M80 Ring Road Upgrade project since 2013. These jobs include direct and indirect employees, across all levels.
METRONET (WA, $1.84 Billion)
The Metronet Project is a series of rail works that aims to support accelerated growth in the Perth metropolitan area over the next 50 to 100 years. The entire project consists of roughly 72 kilometres of new passenger rail, and 23 brand new train stations.
It is the biggest investment in any type of public transport that Perth has ever seen and ‘is a catalyst to turn more than 8,000 hectares of land around new stations into desirable places to live, work and play’, according to the Metronet website.
Metronet was first proposed back in 2012, by the state Labor party. At that time, they were the opposition party. The original proposal consisted of two circular routes; a ‘North Circle’ and a ‘South Circle’, which would link up a number of existing lines and stations, as well as Perth airport. However, the Labor party was defeated in the 2013 election, so the project did not move forward at that time.
The Liberal party, which still held government, did approve a rail link to Perth airport. In 2015, the Labor party proposed a modified version of their original Metronet project, which would occur in stages. This project model would prioritise the airport rail, and then extend a number of existing lines, as well as link others.
The Labor government was elected in 2017, with Mark McGowan at its head. They then formed the Metronet multi-agency team, to deliver the project in stages.
What are the objectives of Metronet?
The METRONET Program objectives, according to the project website, are:
- To support economic growth with better connected businesses and greater access to jobs for residents.
- To deliver infrastructure that promotes easy and accessible travel and lifestyle options for locals.
- To create communities that have a sense of belonging and support Perth’s growth and prosperity over the coming decades.
- To plan for Perth’s future growth by making the best use of available resources, land, and funding.
- To lead a cultural shift in the way government, private sector and industry work together to achieve integrated land use and transport solutions for the future of Perth.
What is included in the Metronet project?
The project consists of a range of line extensions, new stations, two new rail lines, and much more. The breakdown includes:
- Building 8.5 kilometres of rail for the Forrestfield-Airport Link, including new stations at Redcliffe, Airport Central and High Wycombe.
- Building a brand new 21 kilometre line named the Morley–Ellenbrook line, with new stations at Morley, Noranda, Malaga, Whiteman Park and Ellenbrook. This may also include a new station at Bennett Springs in the future.
- The Byford Rail Extension, which involves extending the Armadale line services 8 kilometers further to Byford.
- The Yanchep Rail Extension, furthering the Joondalup line by 14.5 kilometres with new stations situated at Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep.
- Thornlie-Cockburn Link which will connect Thornlie station on the Thornlie line to Cockburn Central station on the Mandurah line, and includes new stations at Nicholson Road and Ranford Road.
Station works and upgrades:
- Bayswater station, beginning April 2022
- Lakelands station, beginning May 2022
- Rebuild Bayswater Station to accommodate the Midland Line, Forrestfield-Airport Link and Morley-Ellenbrook Line connections.
- Relocating Midland Station.
- Building Lakelands Station and Karnup Station on the Mandurah line.
- Building a multi-storey car park at Mandurah Station.
- Upgrades to Claremont Station and add train turnback for the Airport Line.
The project also includes a slate of other works, such as rail level crossing removals, the introduction of high-capacity signalling, and the introduction of 41 new six-car C-series trains that will run across the network.
When did the Metronet project start and when will it finish?
The first construction works began on Metronet in June 2020. The project is broken up into a number of stages, and is expected to be finished in 2030. Throughout the life of Metronet, it is expected that the project will create almost 4000 jobs.
How much will Metronet cost?
In 2020/21, the budget of Metronet stood at about $4.9 billion. This included funds that had already been spent, and an estimate of spending to the end of the 2023/24 period. However, the WA state government revised the estimated budget of the entire Metronet project to $10.5 billion. This includes $6.6 billion of funding from the state government, and $3.9 billion of funding from the federal government.
- The first iteration of Metronet is proposed by the opposition Labour government.
- The opposition Labor government proposes a modified Metronet project.
- Labor government elected in Western Australia.
- Federal government allocates $792 million toward Metronet. Additional funding then allocated later in the year.
- First works commence.
- Federal government announces that planing approvals will be fast tracked for Metronet throughout the project.
- Mandurah Station Parking Bays complete.
- Forrestfield Airport Link complete.
- Bellevue Depot Relocation complete.
- Denny Avenue Level Crossing Removal complete.
- Expected Metronet completion.