Work has progressed on the Andrews Labor Government’s Melbourne Metro Rail Project. Premier Daniel Andrews joined Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, today to announce the preferred alignment and depth of two rail tunnels that will run through the Melbourne CBD.


The Melbourne Metro Rail Authority, established in February with $40 million in funding from the Labor Government, has conducted planning and technical work to determine the most appropriate route and depth for the nine-kilometre twin tunnels, which will deliver thousands of extra passengers to the city every day.


This work shows that building the tunnel underneath Swanston St is the most convenient location for commuters and the most cost-effective option for construction.


A proposed Russell St alignment wouldn’t allow passengers to transfer directly between the City Loop and the new tunnels – a key feature of the project. An assessment of a proposed Elizabeth St alignment revealed unstable ground conditions and significant and costly engineering challenges.


Planning work has also determined that building the tunnel above the City Loop at a depth of around 10 metres –instead of below the City Loop at more than 40 metres – is the best option for commuters.


Burying the platforms more than 12 storeys underground is impractical for commuters and not as safe in the event of an emergency.


The reduced depth of the tunnels means construction of the project can take place more efficiently and the Authority is investigating a range of measures to reduce disruption in the CBD and keep the city moving. During the procurement phase, bidders will be encouraged to further improve the design and minimise disruption.


Identifying a preferred route and depth for the rail tunnels allows more detailed investigations to be undertaken in the project’s ongoing planning and development. It will also allow the Authority to undertake detailed consultation with stakeholders, including Swanston St traders, later this year.


Identification of the preferred alignment and depth of the tunnels comes a day after the Labor Government announced it had reached a good faith agreement with the East West Link consortium. The Government is getting on with Melbourne Metro Rail – a project Victoria needs and a project Victoria voted for.


Melbourne Metro will create 3,500 jobs during peak construction and includes five new underground stations to be located at Arden, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain. It’s our foundation for world-class public transport, significantly increasing the capacity of the whole system so more trains can run more often.