Queensland Rail’s tunnel floor lowering works have commenced in the Toowoomba region, led by Brisbane-based BMD Construction.
And local businesses are confident experience on this project will position them for more work as the $10 billion Inland Rail project, connecting Melbourne and Brisbane, progresses.
Eleven rail tunnel floors will be lowered throughout the Toowoomba Range and Little Liverpool Range in coming months, paving the way for exporters to use larger 9’6” high cube freight shipping containers to transport goods to the Port of Brisbane.
Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise supply chain general manager Lance MacManus said the project was a win for TSBE as it had been on its priority infrastructure list for the region for the last five years.
“This work represents great opportunities for local companies to build capacity in light of the proposed Inland Rail project which will benefit our region for decades to come,” Mr MacManus said.
“We have provided a united consistent voice to all tiers of Government in all states and pushed our message that this project is a priority for our region. It is a wonderful outcome on all levels as it will provide new skills for our local workforce in rail, in preparation for the massive Inland Rail project down the track.”
He said BMD Construction, which had a regional presence in Toowoomba, had engaged local businesses on the project including the Joe Wagner Group and MinStaff Survey.
Joe Wagner Group director Nick Wagner said the contract meant 70 jobs and close to $2 million worth of work for his company over the nine-month duration of the project.
Mr Wagner said while it was their existing skilled workers that “got us over the line”, there would be new jobs on offer for the project.
“It is an ideal scenario to be involved with, as it will provide great experience for us in the lead up to the construction of the Inland Rail,” Mr Wagner said.
As one of several sub-contractors for the job, Mr Wagner said they would be supplying both plant and labour for the rail tunnel lowering project.
MinStaff Survey general manager Jake Laing said the experience gained on this project would provide a solid foundation for future rail work throughout the Downs and south east Queensland.
“We are conducting the survey work for the excavation of the tunnel floor as well as setting out for the installation of the pre-cast track slabs and rail,” Mr Laing said.
“The project represents $300,000 worth of work for us. We are working on three tunnels consecutively, over day and night shifts, and utilising up to eight surveyors.”
The majority of works are being undertaken during scheduled monthly track closures, with works occurring on a 24-hour basis during these times to minimise the impacts to freight and passenger services.
Preparation works have been completed during two scheduled track closures in January and February.
The first tunnel lowering work will take place over a 10-day closure this month, with the project scheduled for completion later this year.