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Roads Australia Insider - March 26, 2019


NSW election result opens up new pipeline of work

As the dust settles on the weekend’s election result in NSW, attention now turns to the next round of transport infrastructure projects promised by the Berejiklian Government.

On the roads front, the Coalition’s election win assures the go-ahead of three major projects:

  • the Western Harbour Tunnel, a new tunnel from the Rozelle interchange, under Sydney Harbour to the Warringah Freeway. The project scope includes upgrading four kilometres of the Warringah Freeway;
  • the Beaches Link, a proposed tunnel linking the Northern Beaches to the Warringah Freeway; and
  • the F6 Extension (Stage One), twin four-kilometre tunnels linking the New M5 Motorway at Arncliffe to President Avenue at Kogarah.

In addition, the Coalition has promised:

  • a $4.5 billion, 10-year project to duplicate the Great Western Highway (Katoomba to Lithgow);
  • an additional $1 billion to fix local roads and bridges, including the establishment of a process to take back up to 15,000km of roads managed by local government;
  • an extra $960 million for the Princes Highway to duplicate sections from Jervis Bay Road to Sussex Inlet Road, build the Moruya Bypass, and start detailed planning for the Milton and Ulladulla Bypass and upgrades from Burrill Lake to Batemans Bay; and
  • $480 million for major upgrades to Mamre and Mulgoa roads, in Sydney’s west.

The roll-out of the Sydney Metro project will also continue at pace, with promises to:

  • accelerate construction of the Metro West rail line, connecting Westmead, Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park. The Government will provide $6.4 billion for the project over the four-year forward estimates, allowing construction to start next year;
  • start construction by 2021 of a North-South metro rail line that will link St Marys Station and the new airport at Badgerys Creek; and
  • develop the next phase of the Sydney Metro Rail network, planning for four additional extensions including Westmead to Western Sydney Airport, St Marys to Rouse Hill via Schofields, Bankstown to Liverpool and connecting Macarthur to the Western Sydney Aerotropolis.

In terms of congestion management and journey reliability, the Coalition has promised:

  • upgrades to over 500 priority intersections to reduce queue lengths and delays;
  • to increase overall investment in the Pinch Points program from $825 million to over $1.2 billion, allowing a further 12 pinch points to be fixed across NSW;
  • a further $200 million to upgrade existing motorways, including the M1 between Gosford and Sydney, and plan for further upgrades across the State; and
  • to introduce drone technology to monitor traffic conditions, supported by new digital messaging technology to communicate directly to drivers based on location, using apps or navigation system.

RFP marks next milestone in Suburban Roads Package

The Victorian Government yesterday released the Request for Proposal (RFP) to deliver the $2.2 billion north and south-eastern packages of the Suburban Roads Package.

Short-listed parties will be required to respond to a RFP for each of the upgrades in mid-2019.

The northern package will see the upgrade of six priority roads and maintenance of hundreds of kilometres of arterial roads. Craigieburn, Sunbury, Epping, Childs and Bridge Inn roads will be duplicated to boost capacity, while intersections will also be upgraded along Fitzsimons Lane in Eltham.

Similarly, the south-eastern upgrade will target improvements to capacity and boost safety on six priority roads, as well as improve and maintain hundreds of kilometres of arterial roads. Extra lanes will be added at Healesville-Koo Wee Rup, Lathams and Narre Warren-Cranbourne roads as well as Pound Road West. Hallam North and Golf Links roads will also be upgraded.

Construction on the northern and south eastern road upgrades is expected to start from 2020 and is due to be completed at the end of 2025.

Meanwhile, Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has committed a future Labor Government to an $850 million road spend in in Melbourne’s south-east.

Speaking at the weekend, Mr Shorten promised he would commit $787 million to help upgrade more than 300 kilometres of road, including:

  • adding an extra lane in each direction to Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Road in Pakenham South, between Princes Freeway and Manks Road, with a new bridge over Deep Creek;
  • adding an extra lane in each direction to Lathams Road in Seaford, between Oliphant Way and Dandenong-Frankston Road, with a new bridge over the Peninsula Link;
  • adding an extra lane in each direction to Hallam North Road in Endeavour Hills, between Heatherton Road and James Cook Drive;
  • adding an extra lane in each direction to Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road in Cranbourne, between Thompsons Road and the South Gippsland Highway;
  • adding an extra lane in each direction to Pound Road West and Remington Drive in Dandenong South, between Abbotts Road and South Gippsland Highway, and building a new bridge over the Cranbourne train line;
  • upgrading Golf Links and Grant Roads in Langwarrin South, and upgrading the six-way roundabout at Golf Links, Grant, Warrandyte and Baxter-Tooradin Roads; and
  • duplicating Racecourse Road in Pakenham between the Princes Highway and the Princes Freeway, supporting the State Government’s work to remove all level crossings in Pakenham.

Beyond those seven projects, Mr Shorten said a Federal Labor Government would also contribute $65 million towards the completion of the upgrade and duplication of the 10.7 kilometre stretch of Thompsons Road between Dandenong-Frankston Road and Berwick-Cranbourne Road. This would complement the removal of the level crossing near Merinda Park Railway Station.


Geelong to Melbourne travel time to be cut in half as part of 20-year Fast Rail Plan

The Federal Government says it will provide $2 billion to bring fast rail between Geelong and Melbourne, cutting the 80km journey in half to 32 minutes.

The announcement comes off the back of the Victorian and Commonwealth governments formally signing off on the Melbourne Airport Rail Link earlier this month.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the signing of the Heads of Agreement today, which sets out the strategic objectives, governance arrangements and information sharing processes for the $10 billion joint commitment.

Announced last Friday, the congestion-busting rail project will be the first of its kind in Australia, with trains running at an average of 160 km/h.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Government’s 20-year fast rail plan would also invest $40m for detailed assessment of five additional corridors, complementing three studies presently underway. These detailed assessments would determine the next priorities for funding and construction.

A National Fast Rail Agency will also be created to guide the work, determine priorities based on the assessments, work with state governments and communities and the private sector and provide innovative finance solutions.

“This is all part of our plan to manage population growth that I announced this week to take the pressure off our big cities like Melbourne and make our regional cities like Geelong even more attractive places to live and work,” the Prime Minister said.

“As our population grows, fast rail networks are crucial to easing the congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia’s future.”

Earlier this month the Prime Minister and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews signed the Melbourne Airport Rail Link Heads of Agreement, setting out the strategic objectives, governance arrangements and information sharing processes for the $10 billion joint commitment.

A project team will be established to drive the development of a full Business Case for the project, which will not only connect Melbourne Airport to the rail network for the first time but also integrate it with the Metro Tunnel and the future Suburban Rail Loop, as well as paving the way for fast-rail to the regions.


Hydrogen breathes new life into Toyota plant

In a move applauded by Roads Australia, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced last week it was funding Toyota Motor Corporation Australia to start the transformation of part of its decommissioned car manufacturing plant in Altona into a renewable energy hub to produce green hydrogen for transport.

The $7.4 million Toyota Australia Hydrogen Centre is part of a larger transformation planned for the former car manufacturing site. On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA will provide $3.1 million towards the project.

The Centre will include solar PV and battery storage to cover the incremental energy requirements for the production of renewable hydrogen through electrolysis and utilisation for both mobile and stationary applications.

In its recently released Cities for the Future report from last year’s study visit, Roads Australia identified an opportunity for Australia to collaborate with Japan and Korea on fuel cell technology for use in buses and trucks, and to consider the potential production of hydrogen as a fuel for use in transport.

The Toyota project will aim to demonstrate an end-to-end process for the hydrogen creation chain; from producing hydrogen through electrolysis to the compression and storage of hydrogen and electricity generation via hydrogen fuel cells.

The Hydrogen Centre will also include an education centre and Victoria’s first commercial scale hydrogen vehicle refuelling station infrastructure on site to allow the refueling of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

The project will produce at least 60 kg of hydrogen per day with on-site solar PV and battery storage to contribute to the incremental energy requirements of the whole site.

According to ARENA, hydrogen could potentially be used as a way for Australia to export renewable energy to other countries, particularly in Asia. Japan has already set a 10-year strategy to become a large scale importer of renewable hydrogen.


$194 million funding boost to bust Adelaide congestion

The Commonwealth and South Australian governments have promised construction will commence soon on two new jointly funded road projects - the Cross Road-Fullarton Road Intersection at Highgate and the intersection of Portrush and Magill Roads in Maylands.

The projects are part of the Commonwealth’s Urban Congestion Fund package for Adelaide.

Each government will invest $30.5 million to upgrade the Cross Road and Fullarton Road intersection. Approximately 60,000 vehicles travel through this intersection each day and it is at capacity, with travel time delays in peak periods.

Cross Road forms part of Adelaide’s Outer Ring Route, with both roads serving as important commuter routes for traffic to and from Mitcham Hills Area and South Eastern Freeway.

Each government will also deliver $49 million to widen Portrush Road on approach to the Magill Road intersection.

This project is in addition to the $35 million to deliver the long-awaited Goodwood/Springbank/Daws intersection upgrade.

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