CONSTRUCTION WORK is expected to get underway later this year on the northern section of Sydney's orbital suburban rail link, following the award of a contract at the end of June. The 14 km between Chatswood and Epping is to be built by a consortium of Thiess, Hochtief and Alstom, and will run mostly in bored tunnel.
New South Wales Transport Minister Carl Scully said on June 27 that the A$850m contract was the largest single infrastructure contract ever awarded by the state government. He indicated that preliminary works had already begun at Chatswood. Construction is expected to take around 41/2 years, with the line due to open for revenue services in mid-2008.
The link forms the principal element in the 28 km Chatswood - Paramatta corridor (RG 8.98 p503), which is now costed at A$1·6bn. The Thiess-Hochtief -Alstom bid includes a two-year option to extend the tunnels from Epping to Carlingford, where they would meet the existing line to Rydalmere.