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Construction is ready to roll on the Parkes to Narromine stretch of the Inland Rail, with final approval being granted under environmental laws.
Earlier in the year contracts were granted to construct the Narromine to Parkes section of track, requiring 600 tonnes steel from Whyalla, South Australia and 200,000 concrete sleepers from Mittagong, NSW.
Two local quarries have put on 16 more employees on the payroll to supply ballast for the track’s two local companies work to supply about $7 million in ballast and capping for the project.
In all, about 3.6 million tonnes of ballast and 3.4 million tonnes of capping will be needed for the 1700 kilometre length of the Inland Rail.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the new freight link would increase regional export opportunities.
“Communities across regional Victoria, NSW and Queensland will see the benefit of better access to markets at home and overseas, as well as ensuring Australia meets the challenge of our freight task which is set to double.”
Inland Rail chief executive Richard Wankmuller said the planning approval is a significant milestone.
“We’re hearing from the Central West community that people are energised about the Inland Rail project and we thank them for their continued input and feedback. Ultimately we want to build the best possible rail line and ensure locals benefit as much as possible,” Mr Wankmuller said.
“We have been working closely with landowners and the community here for over two years. We are very grateful for the support, feedback and land access provided which aided throughout the design and environmental assessment process and continues to date. Community feedback has proven invaluable to the process.”
Parkes MP Mark Coulton said Inland Rail motivated him to “get off the tractor and put my hand up for Parliament” and said its construction would spur new jobs in western NSW.
NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts said his government recently ticked off on the works under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
“I’m pleased to see both Governments give the green light for the first Inland Rail project to begin,” Mr Roberts said.
The 104km Inland Rail section from Parkes to Narromine will use much of the existing rail corridor, which is already operated by ARTC on its existing freight network.
There will be a new 5.3km long rail connection to the Broken Hill line, to the west of Parkes.
Construction work will involve track formation, upgrading the track and culverts as well as providing additional flexibility through three new crossing loops at Goonumbla, Peak Hill and Timjelly.
Calvani Crushing, Forbes, has been awarded a $4.8m contract to supply more than 150,000t of ballast and 75,000t of capping, while Ausrock Quarries, Parkes, has gained a $2.1 million contract to supply more than 45,000t of ballast and 45,000t of capping to be delivered in the next 12 to 18 months for the line between Parkes and Narromine.
The construction contractor for the Parkes/Narromine corridor is INLink, a joint venture between BMD Constructions and Fulton Hogan.
For more information visit: Infrastructure Department Inland Rail website
This article first appeared on www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au
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