Roads spending hits new highs in NSW
Today’s NSW Budget has delivered a record spend of $9.7 billion to build new and improved roads, boat ramps, wharves and freight rail lines.
Budget highlights include:
- more than $2.1 billion to continue fast tracking major upgrades of key regional highways such as the Pacific, Princes, Central Coast, Great Western, Newell, New England, Oxley, Mitchell, Kings, Riverina, Silver City, Cobb and Bells Line of Road;
- $2.9 billion to continue widening and upgrading the M4, building a New M5 and getting the M4-M5 Link ‘shovel ready’ for construction (all part of the WestConnex project), and wider road integration works across the network;
- $283 million to continue major construction of NorthConnex;
- $338 million to continue building and upgrading roads to support Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek (including The Northern Road, Bringelly Road and Werrington Arterial Road);
- $147 million to continue building and upgrading roads which help service population growth areas in Western Sydney (including Schofields, Narellan, Richmond and Old Wallgrove roads);
- $160 million to continue major road upgrades to support the new Northern Beaches Hospital;
- $125 million towards easing Sydney’s congestion (including fixing notorious traffic pinch points);
- $242 million to upgrade and maintain regional freight rail lines; and
- $111 million to support productivity and safety for road freight in regional NSW including the Bridges for the Bush program, road freight upgrades and heavy duty pavements.
Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, says the Government will also invest a massive $1.5 billion to help repair and maintain road, maritime and freight assets in 2016-17, including $224 million in grants to local councils.
The Budget also includes $32 million to continue planning for future links on the Sydney Motorway Network including detailed planning for a second road tunnel under Sydney Harbour called the Western Harbour Tunnel and geotechnical studies for a future F6 motorway from Arncliffe through the Sutherland Shire to Waterfall.
The Budget also provides $2.7 billion in 2016-17 to deliver Sydney Metro, Australia’s biggest public transport project.
The allocation includes $1.3 billion on Stage 1 of Sydney Metro (Sydney Metro North West), which opens in the first half of 2019. On Stage 2 of Sydney Metro, Sydney Metro City and Southwest, $1.4 billion will be invested this year on the tender process and contract for tunnelling and early construction work in 2017.
For more Budget information, click here.
Record roads and transport spend will be welcomed by congestion-weary Sydneysiders, says RA
The record roads and transport spend announced in today’s NSW Budget is a much-needed tonic for congestion and will help make Sydney a more liveable city.
“This Government deserves credit for getting on with the delivery of mega projects like WestConnex and the Sydney Metro, as well as the second Sydney airport package of road works and NorthConnex,” said Roads Australia President, David Stuart-Watt.
“The majority of Sydneysiders want these projects built as quickly as possible. They will transform Sydney, making it a better place to live and work and generating economic benefits for the State and nation that will more than justify the dollar cost and short-term disruption.
“The continuing investment in the pinch points program will also do much to alleviate congestion across our existing metro network. Relatively small, targeted investments in things like road widenings, tidal flow schemes and traffic lights at bottlenecks can have significant flow-on benefits across the whole network.”
Mr Stuart-Watt also welcomed the ongoing investment in the State’s regional road network, as well as the $1.5 billion allocation for road maintenance.
“Maintenance and renewal of our existing road assets is one of the biggest challenges for all governments across Australia,” he said.
“We are struggling to keep up with the backlog, particularly at a local government level. Unless we do more to get on top of it now, we’ll pay a bigger price in the future.”
Mr Stuart-Watt said the roads industry was well placed to help deliver the NSW Government’s ambitious transport infrastructure program.
“Through Roads Australia, the private and public sectors are working together to improve areas like procurement and embed greater innovation in project design and delivery, ensuring taxpayers get real value for every dollar spent,” he said.
Qld Budget delivers $20b for four-year QTRIP
Last week’s Queensland Budget has also delivered record funding for road and transport projects, investing more than $20 billion over four years, including $4.3 billion in 2016-17.
Minister for Transport, Stirling Hinchliffe, and Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports, Mark Bailey, said last week the program was the largest in five years and would support more than 15,900 jobs over the next four years.
Mr Hinchliffe said the $20.02 billion funding under the Queensland Transport and Road Investment Program (QTRIP) was a massive investment in Queensland’s transport future and job creation.
“We’re investing $4.38 billion in the coming 2016-17 financial year alone to advance our state and ensure we have the infrastructure to plan for future growth’” he said.
The 2016-17 State Budget includes a $50 million funding injection for Queensland’s number-one infrastructure priority project, Cross River Rail, to take the project to the next level. In order to prepare for Cross River Rail, the Budget also delivers $634 million for stage one of the project, a new European Train Control System (ETCS), which the Government says will improve network capacity and allow more trains and commuters on our network.
Mr Bailey said the Budget included an additional $90 million over three years to the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS) to upgrade and build local infrastructure regional communities.
“We’re also investing $89 million for road safety programs, road accident injury rehabilitation and safety upgrades, funded through the Camera Detected Offence Program (CDOP).
“We’re providing an additional $96.5 million towards a number of projects in Northern Queensland, including $76.9 million to upgrade the Gregory Developmental Road and Cape River Bridge and $19.6 million to contribute to sealing the Hann Highway."
Project funding allocations under the four-year QTRIP include:
- Toowoomba Range Crossing - $1.6 billion
- Four-lane realignment of Bruce Highway from Traveston Road to Keefton Road, Gympie, Cooroy to Curra (Section C) – $384.2 million
- Townsville Ring Road - $200 million
- Ipswich Motorway (Rocklea to Darra) Stage 1 - $88.4 million towards
- Gregory Developmental Road, including Cape River Bridge - $76.9 million
- Cross River Rail Delivery Authority - $50 million
- M1 – Gateway Motorway merge upgrade (southbound lanes) – $42 million
- Hann Highway - $19.6 million
- Transport and Tourism Connections program - $10 million
Click here to access the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) 2016–17 to 2019–20 documents.
Shortlist announced for Western Distributor
Three consortia - John Holland and CPB Contractors, Lend Lease Engineering and Bouygues Construction, and an international consortium of Salini Impreglio, Fluor Australia and Lane Worldwide Infrastructure – have been shortlisted to design and build the $5.5 billion Western Distributor.
Announcing the shortlist today, Victorian Roads Minister, Luke Donnellan, said the Government would now seek fully costed designs for the Western Distributor, which includes the widening of the West Gate Freeway, a tunnel under Yarraville, a second river crossing, and connections to the port, CityLink and the city.
The Western Distributor will provide a vital second river crossing as an alternative to the West Gate Bridge, slash travel time from Geelong by 20 minutes, and create 5600 jobs. A reference design is being developed which will take into account feedback from extensive consultation with local government, local residents and businesses and the freight industry.
To ensure planning certainty for the community, the reference design and any innovative solutions developed by tenderers will be thoroughly and transparently assessed through the Environmental Effects Statement process, the Government says.
The contract will be signed by late 2017, with the project to commence construction soon after and be completed in 2022.
Brisbane's Inner City Bypass upgrade moves a step closer
CPB Contractors, Seymour Whyte Constructions and BMD Constructions have been shortlisted for the $80 million upgrade of Brisbane’s Inner City Bypass. Brisbane City Council has also confirmed it’s entered into discussions with Transurban Queensland regarding potential options for the delivery of the upgrade.
The upgrade will widen the ICB to four lanes in each direction between Legacy Way and the RNA tunnel and include a new westbound on-ramp from Bowen Bridge Road and the Inner Northern Busway onto the ICB to increase capacity and allow for future growth along the key corridor.
Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk, said last Friday the shortlisted companies would be invited to submit detailed and fully costed bids in September before Council awarded the contract later this year, with construction expected to be completed in 2018.
Cr Quirk said Council had entered into discussions with Transurban Queensland following an innovative proposal offered by the company to deliver the ICB upgrade with improved travel times and safety for all road users.
“As the operator of Legacy Way, Clem 7 and AirportLink, Transurban Queensland plays a key role within the ICB’s associated road network,” he said.
“While Council is yet to agree or confirm Transurban’s role, we are open to considering any proposal which will deliver a holistic transport solution for the corridor and offer value-for- money for Brisbane’s ratepayers.
“Our focus is on reducing traffic congestion within the corridor, which is also a key priority for Transurban Queensland as the operators of the adjacent toll road network, so there is real value in us working together.”
Cr Quirk said introducing tolls on the existing ICB infrastructure would not be considered.
The major upgrades to Kingsford Smith Drive and Wynnum Road Stage 1 are being funded through the 50 year lease of the Legacy Way and Go Between Bridge tolling rights that is held by Transurban Queensland.
Transurban Queensland Group General Manager, Wes Ballantine, said the company would bring its capabilities and experience in operating high-volume road network adjacent to the ICB project to deliver an integrated, safer and more efficient inner-city motorway network.
“Our approach is to build on the success of the partnership established with Council on other projects such as Legacy Way and the shared commitment of both parties to develop a cohesive transport network,” Mr Ballantine said.
“Like every Brisbane motorist, we want to keep traffic moving, improve travel time reliability and safety through this corridor.
“This partnership with Council will allow us to use our core capabilities to deliver that aim.”
Two more level crossing go to market in Victoria
The removal of two more Melbourne level crossings – Grange Road in Alphington and Lower Plenty Rd in Rosanna – was released to the market last week and will start next year as part of a package of works that includes a new Rosanna Station and duplicated Hurstbridge line.
Victorian Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said the two level crossing removals would be delivered as a single project worth more than half-a-billion dollars.
Grange and Lower Plenty Road level crossings are two of Melbourne’s worst, with boom gates down for more than a third of the morning peak, clogging roads in Melbourne’s north eastern suburbs.
Their fast-tracking means 25 dangerous and congested level crossings will be removed by the end of 2019, including at least 20 by the next election.
Consultation is already underway at Grange Road and will start soon at Lower Plenty Road and on the Hurstbridge line duplication, Ms Allan said.
The Request for Proposal for these works will close on July 12. Construction is expected to commence in 2017 and be complete in 2019.
Details are available at www.tenders.vic.gov.au
Infrastructure to lift major project activity in 2017, says new report
The latest Australian Industry Group/Australian Constructors Association Construction Outlook survey, released last week, points to very strong growth from transport-related infrastructure projects to drive gradual improvement in the sector into 2017.
The survey of the nation’s leading construction companies identifies a much needed improvement in turnover next year, supported by a broader base of activity as the infrastructure and commercial sectors recover and apartment building maintains growth.
After dropping sharply by eight per cent in the calendar year 2015, the survey forecasts that the value of turnover from major non-residential project work is expected to edge lower in 2016 (0.4 per cent) before recovering some ground with a 4.5 per cent rise in 2017.
A bigger pipeline of infrastructure activity is set to drive a 5.5 per cent lift in engineering construction in 2017 after falling again in 2016 (2.9 per cent).
This will be underpinned by strong investment in urban transport infrastructure, with the survey pointing to solid rises in revenue from both road (+11.7 per cent) and rail projects (+14.8 per cent) in 2017.
The survey also anticipates a further decline in resources-related engineering construction in 2017. However, it indicates that the drag from reduced mining investment is likely to wane, with slower falls in turnover derived from mining and heavy industrial construction projects during the year.
See the report here.
Declining transport investment rejected by Australians, says AAA
New research from the Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has found Australians overwhelmingly reject governments spending a decreasing proportion of fuel excise on land transport.
The proportion of fuel excise spent on roads and rail is projected to halve to around one cent out of every four collected by 2020.
The AAA report, Keep Australia Moving; How Australians experience their transport options, shows almost 90 per cent of Australians want more than 50 per cent of their fuel taxes to be invested into roads and rail.
AAA Chief Executive, Michael Bradley, says the AAA is calling for the next Australian Government to invest a guaranteed minimum of 50 per cent of net fuel excise in land transport, a policy clearly supported by voters.
“Our research makes it clear that voters want more of their excise dollars going to transport projects capable of decreasing congestion and boosting their local economies, and that they are prepared to vote for the party that listens to them,” Mr Bradley said.
“Over recent decades, only 47 per cent of the tax paid by motorists at the bowser has found its way into the federal land transport infrastructure budget. And by 2020, this figure will be down to 27 per cent.
“Our research shows congestion is seen by Australians as having worsened over the past year, with many expecting it to deteriorate further in the coming year. Their dismay is supported by Government figures that show congestion currently costs our economy $16 billion per year and that this will rise to $53 billion by 2031.
“While Australians may not have full view of the costs of having to rely on the transport systems of the past, it’s clear they know something is wrong; that they are not getting a fair return on their taxes. And it’s becoming clear they are considering taking action at the ballot box.”
The research also shows almost one in three motorists are unaware they pay fuel excise, which is why the AAA is pushing for fuel excise paid at the pump to be included on the receipt, in the same way GST is displayed.
“This will help Australians understand how much tax they pay every time they fill up and to question their local politicians about where the money is going,” Mr Bradley said.
Click here to access the report.
Nominations sought from Australia for IRF World Meeting papers review
The Organising Committee of the International Road Federation’s 18th World Road Meeting, to be held in New Delhi from November 14 to 17 next year, is seeking nominations from Roads Australia members to review papers.
Roads Australia is an active member and participant in IRF Geneva, and next year’s World Meeting will bring together leaders from industry and government from around the globe to focus on current and emerging road transport challenges.
“The Organising Committee is specifically seeking people with industry seniority and technical experience to enhance the credibility of the selection process,” says RA Chief Executive, Ian Webb.
“Selection on the review committee represents a significant opportunity to shape the program and, ultimately, the outcomes of the World Meeting.
Click here to download the program themes.
Anyone interested in nominating for the review committee should contact RA Policy Director, Mandi Mees.