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THE cost of Melbourne’s Metro rail tunnel has surged to $11.03 billion after a long-awaited signalling trial was tacked on to the project.
The state Budget revealed $131 million had been added to the cost of the twin 9km tunnels and five underground stations.
However, the move to push the project above budget before construction has even begun has prompted warnings on the cost of the major project to Victorian taxpayers.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan told the Herald Sun the added outlay was the result of including the signalling to allow faster trains on the Melbourne network.
But Opposition transport spokesman David Hodgett said the move showed the government's tunnel project was “half-baked”.
A giant shed will cover City Square for the next five years to seal pedestrians and hotel guests from noise and dust as work starts on the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel.“Daniel Andrews and Labor have an appalling record on delivering major projects and we can’t afford another myki or desal disaster,” he said.
“This is a project we can’t afford to get wrong, yet Daniel Andrews continues to rush in, wasting millions of Victorian taxpayers’ dollars along the way.”
Under the changes, high-capacity signalling will be installed on the new Sunbury-Pakenham line, which will run through the tunnel, allowing faster trains on the network.
More than $55 million in funding for stage one of the program was announced in 2015, but Ms Allan said the two projects would now been rolled into one.
An impression of the CBD South Melbourne Metro station.“We’re designing, developing and implementing a trial of high-capacity signalling as part of the Metro Tunnel project,’’ Ms Allan said.
“This massive project and next-generation high-capacity signalling will mean we can run more trains more often and get people home safer and sooner.”
The unexpected add-on comes as Melbourne prepares for unprecedented disruption to traffic networks to make way for the new project.
Last month, a $25 million package was revealed to deal with citywide changes at 250 sites in Melbourne’s CBD, including, road closures, traffic light changes and rezoning of carparks.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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