The Suburban Rail Loop is a new 90-kilometre underground rail link project connecting Melbourne’s middle suburbs. It will include new stations and connect major railway lines from the Frankston line to the Werribee line via Melbourne Airport, easing demand on existing lines and encouraging more Melburnians out of their cars and onto public transport.
The transformational project will be the biggest infrastructure investment ever undertaken in Victoria and will be completed in stages, with work on Stage One (a 26 km tunnel from Cheltenham to Box Hill) to start in 2022.
Golder has a long history of working on significant rail projects in Melbourne. The Golder team worked on the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop project in the 1970s and, more recently, on the Regional Rail Link, Melbourne Metro, as well as numerous level crossing removal projects and the Airport Rail Link.
Golder was engaged to undertake site investigations and assess the geotechnical, hydrogeological and land contamination conditions to support the project planning and design. The geotechnical investigations are part of the early planning and design work that will help to plan the Stage One rail alignment and station locations.
These investigations capture initial data and information about local ground conditions, which are variable and complex. Understanding the range of potential conditions underground will be essential to the success of the project.
In the target areas for investigation, boreholes are currently being drilled to depths of up to 60 metres. The rock and soil samples are then collected for laboratory testing. Groundwater monitoring wells are also being installed at selected boreholes to allow sample collection and measurement of groundwater levels and hydraulic properties of the screened intervals.
The Suburban Rail Loop project is an exciting challenge that will draw on our extensive technical skills and experience in characterising the ground conditions for tunnelling projects in Melbourne. This significant project will make a major contribution to the liveability of Melbourne by improving mobility around the city and reducing congestion, allowing future growth.
Golder will continue to work closely with Suburban Rail Loop Authority as the project progresses.