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Mon August 02 2021

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Webuild’s winning streak continues

24 Jun A team that includes Webuild has been named as preferred bidder for the tunnel that will fix the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network.

The Spark consortium comprises Webuild, GS Engineering & Construction, CPB Contractors, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing Investments, DIF and Pacific Partnerships. The successful bidder will construct the North East Link’s twin three-lane tunnels and key interchanges.

The tunnelling package will be delivered as a public-private partnership. The Victorian government will now work with the preferred bidder to negotiate a final contract and finalise the concept design for North East Link.

Once the tunnelling package is awarded, the project will go out to market for other key elements of North East Link including a massive overhaul of the Eastern Freeway, Melbourne’s first dedicated busway, the completion of the M80 Ring Road and more than 25 kilometres of new and upgraded walking and cycling paths. This AU$15.8bn (£8.6bn) project is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian governments, with construction on the tunnelling package to begin after contract award later in the year.

North East Link will connect the M80 Ring Road to an upgraded Eastern Freeway, slashing travel times by up to 35 minutes, taking 15,000 trucks off local roads. It will link key growth areas in the north and south-east, providing an efficient connection for up to 135,000 vehicles each day and allowing travel from Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs to the airport without stopping at a single traffic light.

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A big focus is on creating local jobs for local people, with more than 10,000 jobs on the project and 10 per cent of total work hours to be done by apprentices, trainees or cadets as part of the Victorian government’s ‘local jobs first’ policy.

Federal minister for communications, urban infrastructure, cities and the arts Paul Fletcher said that this was another important step for Victoria’s biggest road project. “The North East Link is a significant road project that will create thousands of local jobs, cut travel times for commuters and freight and take trucks off local roads, improving congestion and safety particularly for communities in Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs,” he said.

Victorian minister for transport infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the North East Link is the missing piece of the puzzle for the Victorian government’s record investment in the north east. “This is another important step for the North East Link, as we continue to build the projects Victorians in the north east need to be better connected to services, jobs and opportunities,” she said. “Fixing the missing link will get trucks off local roads as well as providing a much-improved route for interstate, regional and metropolitan freight vehicles.”

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