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Metro Tunnel, Australia

Aurecon to help free up Melbourne’s biggest rail bottleneck

The $11 billion Metro Tunnel Project (MTP) will free up Melbourne’s biggest rail bottleneck by running three of the network’s busiest train lines through a new tunnel. The project will increase the capacity, reliability and efficiency on the network by catering for 39,000 more passengers during each peak period transforming Melbourne’s rail network by unlocking critically needed capacity.

Aurecon, in partnership with Jacobs and Mott MacDonald (AJM Joint Venture), were appointed as the technical, planning and engagement advisors for the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority.

The Metro Tunnel is the first step towards ‘turn up and go’ train services that are exemplified in some of the world’s great cities such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. Featuring enhanced safety and international-style platform screen doors at stations, the project will reshape travel demand, allowing for future extensions to the tram and rail network as Melbourne grows.

In addition, three of the five new stations along the Metro Tunnel corridor will bring heavy rail to areas not yet connected to the rail network, at Arden, Parkville and Domain. Connectivity to these areas will be enhanced with a combined catchment of over 200,000 jobs, student enrolments and residents; while taking 18,000 vehicles off congested roads as people make the switch to public and active transport. 

The project includes:

  • Twin nine-kilometre rail tunnels from the west of the city to the south-east as part of a new Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham line.
  • New underground stations at Arden, Parkville, Domain and two new CBD stations directly connected to the City Loop at Flinders Street and Melbourne Central stations.
  • High capacity signalling to maximise the efficiency of the new fleet of High Capacity Metro Trains.
  • Train / tram interchange at Domain.

The AJM Joint Venture built on significant planning work completed in the lead up to this city-shaping project through options assessment and technical investigations. The joint venture provided specialist technical, planning and engagement advisory services across the project development and environment effects statement (EES) lifecycle, including design optimisation and EES preparation.

Based on a thorough understanding of the project's status and delivery goals, the joint venture team coordinated a risk based approach prioritising high impact elements for each of the project stages.

Planning to build the Metro Tunnel in a dense urban environment involved giving particular consideration to noise and vibration. The environment team were able to assess expected airborne and groundborne construction noise and vibration together with the impact of future railway.

Due to the close proximity of residents and vibration-sensitive research facilities, the environment team undertook extensive measurements, modelling and stakeholder engagement to determine appropriate actions. This involved using the SoundAdvice tool to update assessments as changes to construction methods were explored.

The AJM Joint Venture has worked on some of the most complex transport projects in Australia and internationally, including London’s Crossrail and Auckland’s City Rail Link, as well as Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station Redevelopment and Sydney’s North West Rail Link.

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