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Road toll giant Transurban has conceded the West Gate Tunnel’s 2023 completion date will no longer be met due to the difficulty of disposing of 3 million tonnes of contaminated soil.
The toll road was originally set to be completed in 2022, but Transurban last year told investors the project wouldn’t be finished until 2023 due to the soil crisis.
Piles of contaminated soil from the West Gate Tunnel project.CREDIT:WAYNE TAYLOR
But the delayed 2023 completion date will be pushed out yet again, Transurban told investors as it released its half-year result on Thursday morning.
“Due to the availability of disposal sites to accept tunnel spoil and following a project schedule review taking this timing into account, [the] 2023 project completion [date is] no longer considered achievable,” the company documents state.
“Commencement of tunnelling requires resolution on a range of matters, including achievement of remaining approvals, preparatory works and progressing commercial matters.
“Legal and commercial avenues for resolution of commercial matters and claims are being pursued.
“Transurban remains committed to working with the D&C subcontractor and the state to resolve the challenges on the project.”
It comes as the Andrews government is being sued by a group of residents and a council in Melbourne’s west over plans to dump soil contaminated with potentially carcinogenic PFAS chemicals from the West Gate Tunnel in landfills located close to homes.
The residents, from Moorabool Environment Group, had a major legal triumph in December when they forced the Environment Protection Authority to quash all of its environmental approvals for landfills accepting the project’s soil, after they pursued the regulator in court.
Builders John Holland and CPB Contractors are in a separate legal dispute with Transurban over the builders’ attempts to quit the project.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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