Expressions of interest are open to design, build, finance and maintain the Inland Rail section from Gowrie outside Toowoomba to Kagaru near Beaudesert as part of the Public Private Partnership (PPP).
According to Inland Rail Chief Executive Officer Richard Wankmuller this is the most technically difficult section and includes a 6.5km tunnel through the Toowoomba Range— which will be the largest diameter diesel freight tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We are at an exciting stage marking the commencement of the formal procurement process for this major component of the Inland Rail project.
“This is an important step which facilitates shortlisting of parties for the issuing of the PPP Request for Proposal, scheduled for later this year,” Mr. Wankmuller said.
Mr. Wankmuller said the launch of the PPP EOI will send a message to the market that work on the Inland Rail project is progressing.
“There is a clear benefit in going to the market now through an EOI so all interested parties may become aware at a relatively early stage of key requirements from both the Australian and Queensland governments.
“The geology and topography of this section, which is located mostly within protected corridors, pose many challenges and we are currently undertaking further site investigations to give us a better understanding of the conditions and inform the final design,” Mr. Wankmuller said.
“The more involved potential partners are while we are undertaking investigations and working to progress the three project Environmental Impact Statements, the better those parties will be able to adjust their thinking on potential design solutions and innovative construction methods.”
The PPP process aims to harness the private sector’s experience and innovation to deliver the engineering solutions required to conquer the Great Dividing Range.
“Private companies are making informed, strategic decisions about where to invest in the future based on the alignment of Inland Rail. Intermodal freight businesses like InterLink SQ are gearing up to make the most of Inland Rail when it becomes operational.
“Queensland is starting to see benefits flow, but the really big benefits will be when construction commences. Inland Rail wants to help communities grow and we are having conversations right up and down the line about how companies of all sizes can get involved.
The Request for Proposal is expected to be released later this year after the Australian and Queensland governments finalise a bilateral agreement for delivery of the Inland Rail.