Thiess has a 50% share of the TJHD JV, with John Holland and Dragados taking 25% each.
Under the AU$1.15bn (£685m) tunnel and station civil works contract, TJHD will construct twin 15km tunnels that will be the longest rail tunnels ever built in Australia. The project for the New South Wales government also includes civil works for five of the line's eight new stations and two service facilities.
Four custom-made tunnel boring machines will be used to build the 6m-diameter tunnels, with the first in the ground by the end of next year. TJHD expects to place orders for the TBMs within the next few weeks.
Theiss and John Holland are both part of Leighton. Leighton Holdings chief executive officer Hamish Tyrwhitt said that it was very pleasing to see a major project like North West Rail Link coming to market which suited the Leighton Group's core construction and tunnelling competencies. "The award of the project is a good example of how the Leighton Group is focusing its Operating Companies on their greatest strengths to deliver excellence and value for clients," he said.
“Thiess has been delivering major projects in New South Wales for decades and between us, Thiess and John Holland have built 70% of Australia’s major underground infrastructure over the last 10 years,” said Thiess managing director Bruce Munro. “Together we have more tunnelling experience in Sydney sandstone than any other contractor and when combined with the international expertise of Dragados, we will deliver a fantastic transport outcome for the people of northwest Sydney.”
John Holland managing director Glenn Palin said John Holland and Thiess had delivered many national infrastructure projects together, including the Lane Cove Tunnel in Sydney.
Dragados international division projects director Alfonso Travesí said the Spanish company welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with two leading Australian contractors. “Dragados has delivered more than 1,200km of tunnels across the globe and we are delighted to join Thiess and John Holland to construct such an important project for Australia,” said Travesí.
Work will start shortly to prepare the three major tunnelling sites at Bella Vista, Showground and Cherrybrook, with contract completion scheduled for first quarter 2017.