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Full steam ahead for Maldon to Dombarton rail link

THE search for specialist engineers and environmental advisers to identify and investigate the design, safety and conservation issues associated with the proposed Maldon to Dombarton Rail Link has begun.

Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said interested parties have until October 19 to make a submission under the tender process being managed by the NSW Government, with the successful bidders for both roles expected to be appointed by the end of the year.

“The work to be undertaken will help get the project ‘shovel ready’ and include assessing the structural integrity of the line’s partially constructed sections,” Mr Albanese said.

“As with any new, major piece of infrastructure we need to make sure that we get the planning right from the very beginning.  What’s more, the investigations to be completed by the specialist consultants will be vital to securing the necessary planning and environmental approvals.

“Our aim is have all these preconstruction activities wrapped up in time for the project to be considered for possible inclusion in our next multibillion dollar road and rail construction program due to start in mid-2014.”

The project would involve laying 35km of standard gauge track connecting Port Kembla directly to the Main North South Line via Dombarton.  It would also include two passing loops, new bridges over the Nepean and Cordeaux Rivers and one of Australia’s longest tunnels.

Local MPs Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones said the latest sign of progress should reassure the local community of Federal Labor’s genuine determination to resurrect this project after more than two decades of inaction.

“Indeed, this rail link is only back on the agenda today thanks to the funding we’ve provided since coming to office in late 2007, a commitment which so far totals almost $30 million,” said Ms Bird.

“The preconstruction activities, which will begin in earnest in coming months, will complete the detailed planning and design work as well as finalise a construction timetable and provide accurate cost estimates.”

A specialist cost planner will also be appointed later this year.

Further details about the tenders are available at: www.tenders.nsw.gov.au.

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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