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Roads Australia Insider - December 20, 2016


Shortlisted tenderers vie for $1 billion in Vic crossing removal packages

The shortlisted bidders were announced last week for two massive packages of Victorian level crossing removals, valued at more than a billion dollars.

The John Holland - KBR JV and the CPB Contractors - Aurecon JV have been short-listed for the North West Program Alliance, while the McConnell Dowell - Arup - Mott McDonald JV and the Coleman Rail - Seymour Whyte - Arcadis Australia Pacific JV have been short-listed for the Western Program Alliance.

The successful bidder for the North West Program Alliance will remove dangerous and congested level crossings at Camp Road in Campbellfield and Buckley Street in Essendon, with work to start next year. Under the Program Alliance model, if these removals are delivered well, the successful bidder will retain the contract to remove crossing at Glenroy Road in Glenroy, Bell Street in Coburg and Moreland Road in Brunswick.

The Western Program Alliance scope includes removal of the Abbots Road level crossing in Dandenong South and the Kororoit Creek Road crossing in Williamstown North, as well as duplicating part of the Altona Loop to boost the reliability of services. If these projects are delivered effectively, the successful bidder will also remove the Aviation Road level crossing in Laverton, Ferguson Street crossing in Williamstown, and Cherry and Werribee Street crossings in Werribee.

The Program Alliance model has been chosen for both packages to reduce the procurement timeframe. It also provides a pipeline of work that enables constructors to build and maintain skilled workforces, better supporting local jobs and opportunities for apprentices, trainees and cadets.


Melbourne’s ‘missing link’ gets the nod, subject to election mandate

The Andrews Government has committed $35 million for the business case to build the North East Link – but says planning approvals and tender processes are more than a year away and contracts won’t be signed before the next State election.

The Government says it wants to give the Victorian community a say on the project without binding future governments.

The project will be spearheaded by a new expert North East Link Authority, overseen by the Victorian Coordinator General, under the same model used to progress the Metro Tunnel, the Western Distributor and the removal of Melbourne’s 50 worst level crossings.

The Government says the project will slash travel time on congested roads in Melbourne’s north, south, and east, taking thousands of trucks off local streets in the north-eastern suburbs and connecting the southern and eastern suburbs to Tullamarine Airport.

The project is expected to take around ten years to complete, create more than 5,000 direct jobs, and cost up to $10 billion, funded by a mixture of government contributions and tolls, with final funding arrangements determined as part of the detailed planning process.

Infrastructure Victoria has identified the North East Link as Victoria’s next priority transport infrastructure project in its 30-year Infrastructure Strategy, handed down earlier this month.

Meantime, the Victorian Government has also announced $350 million to complete the M80 Ring Road all the way from Laverton to Greensborough. The 7.9 kilometre section from Princes Freeway to the Western Highway, 4 kilometres between Sydney Road and Edgars Road and 2.4 kilometres from Plenty Road to the Greensborough Highway will be upgraded to connect to the already improved sections on the freeway.

The M80 will be widened from three to four lanes in each direction from the Princes Freeway to the Western Highway and from two to three lanes from Plenty Road to Greensborough Highway. Interchanges will be upgraded where the M80 Ring Road meets the Princes Freeway and Greensborough Highways to eliminate weaving and improve traffic flow.  


Ball now in Vic Government’s court as 30-year Infrastructure Strategy lands

With the tabling in Parliament this month of Infrastructure Victoria's 30-Year Strategy, the State Government now has 12 months to develop its response and a five year plan for infrastructure priorities.

The independent authority has made 137 recommendations worth around $100 billion across nine sectors including transport, education, housing, health, energy, water and justice.

Infrastructure Victoria Chief Executive, Michel Masson, says the strategy has been developed for all Victorians, with 70 per cent of recommendations having relevance across the state.

“The strategy tackles some big challenges facing Victoria including a growing and ageing population, a lack of affordable housing for vulnerable people and worsening congestion on our roads," Mr Masson says.

“It also highlights significant opportunities to harness technology and encourage innovation in order to get the most out of our existing infrastructure.  

“We have finalised our first 30 year infrastructure strategy but this is just the beginning of an ongoing conversation with the community about how we plan for, deliver, fund and maintain our infrastructure.”

To read the 30-year strategy, supporting technical documents and consultation reports, visit the IV website.


Blueprint for Western Sydney Airport released

The Airport Plan for the Western Sydney Airport has been finalised, authorising the construction and operation of Stage 1 at Badgerys Creek.

After decades of studies and planning, the Federal Government announced last week that all the approvals were now in place.

"This is the most significant step taken by any Government on this project – meaning we can now get on with building the airport so it is ready to take its first passengers by the mid-2020’s," said Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher.

The airport will be the first capital city greenfield airport project Australia has seen in decades. Stage 1 will be operational in the mid-2020s and will comprise a single runway and facilities to cater for 10 million passengers per year. A second parallel runway is expected to be required by around 2050.

Mr Fletcher said strict conditions had been placed on the airport’s development, binding for both the developer and operator.

"The airport will be integrated into strategic planning for greater Sydney as part of a City Deal for Western Sydney to deliver affordable housing, jobs and better transport for the region, creating a more liveable and sustainable city," he said.

"The Australian and NSW governments are working together to map out road and rail linkages to the airport site. Construction on our $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan is well underway. This is tailored at improving road networks across Western Sydney, ensuring that by the time it opens, the Western Sydney Airport is serviced by world class land transport infrastructure.

"Rail options are currently under consideration, as is the preservation of a rail corridor on the airport site."

For more information on the airport visit  


Infrastructure Australia says value capture should be on the table

Infrastructure Australia (IA) says value capture can work in Australia and should be regularly considered for all public infrastructure projects, but it's important to be realistic about the role it can play in funding essential infrastructure. 

IA last week released a new discussion paper - Capturing Value: Advice on making value capture work in Australia - to provide guidance to governments and the private sector on how value capture can be applied in the Australian context.

Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive, Philip Davies, said government budgets were under significant constraint, which was why the Australian Infrastructure Plan highlighted the importance of diversifying the available sources of infrastructure funding.

“Most people value high-quality infrastructure with access to services like high-frequency public transport, which can cause an increase in property value," he said.

“Value capture taps into this by capturing some of the uplift around infrastructure investments, and in so doing can reduce the volume of taxpayer funds needed to pay for infrastructure.  

“In the case of large-scale infrastructure projects, even a 5-10 per cent contribution to project costs through value capture can represent a saving to the taxpayer in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  

“It’s about making the funding split fairer between the direct beneficiaries of infrastructure investment and broader taxpayers, while also increasing available funding for infrastructure.  

“Governments should be clear on the problem they seek to solve and ensure the mechanism that is applied is the most effective and appropriate approach.  Importantly, opportunities for value capture need to be identified and implemented early in planning processes, before specific options are developed, to maximise benefits to taxpayers.

“High quality, detailed and long-term strategic planning is the foundation of effective value capture. Governments must also be transparent in their application, engaging industry and the community about how much is being raised, from whom, and how all parties will benefit."

Mr Davies said there was a number of different value capture mechanisms that could provide individual solutions for specific projects, "...however having a broader-based land tax system would offer the best opportunities for sustainable, longer term reform," he said.

“A broad-based land tax would involve removing many exemptions to existing taxes on land value, streamlining charging processes and phasing out other charges such as stamp duties.  

The key thing to remember is that while value capture may bring benefits to governments, the capacity to apply a value capture mechanism cannot change the underlying economic viability of the project."

Access the value capture paper here.   


Autonomous vehicle trials slated for Melbourne next year

The Victorian Government has announced it’s partnering with Transurban to trial a range of automated vehicles on the Monash-Citylink-Tullarmine corridor from early next year.

The trial will test vehicles currently on the market to understand how autonomous vehicle technology interacts with road infrastructure, including overhead lane signals, electronic speed signs and line marking.

The Transurban trial will begin with testing automated vehicles that comply with existing road rules and road safety regulations. A human driver will monitor the vehicle’s operation, ready to take back control at any time. It will also build on the knowledge gathered through the testing of the Bosch Highly Automated Driving Vehicle unveiled during the ITS World Congress in October.

It was also announced last week that VicRoads would engage with industry to seek feedback on the Government’s Future Directions Paper, which outlines the need for regulatory changes to allow testing of highly automated vehicles on our roads.

The consultation will focus on how to ensure road safety during testing on public roads, what constitutes a driver ‘being in control’, and understanding how the changing technology will interact with our transport system.

The Future Directions Paper consultation will work within the National Transport Commission’s framework to establish nationally consistent guidelines across Australia for automated vehicle trials, which will also inform Victoria’s future policies on automated vehicles.

The consultation runs from 15 December to 3 February.  The Future Directions Paper can be downloaded here.


Save the date: briefing to shed light on latest moves to prepare for automated vehicles

Roads Australia and Austroads will host a National Stakeholder Briefing and Lunch in Sydney on February 17 to update stakeholders on the driverless roll-out in Australia.

The half-day event will update participants on progress towards a nationally consistent approach to policy and regulation around connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), and map out future steps towards a consensus approach.

Speakers will include Judith Zielke, Deputy Secretary of the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development; Austroads CEO, Nick Koukoulas; Clare Gardiner-Barnes, Deputy Secretary, Freight, Strategy and Planning with Transport for NSW; and QTMR General Manager (Land Transport Safety) Customer Services, Safety & Regulation, Dennis Walsh.

This event is open to all interested members and stakeholders, with online booking opening in the new year.  Download the draft agenda here.

For more information, contact RA Policy Director, Mandi Mees.

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