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The timeline blowout could mean the bulk of the tunnelling works at the centre of the $6.7bn project may not begin until 2022, the year it was contracted to open to motorists.
Digging on the project has effectively stalled since a dispute broke out about cost overruns related to dirt containing industrial chemical PFAS and asbestos.
But it is understood a breakthrough on the stalemate is close with the government, project proponent Transurban and the builders having positive discussions on a way out of their current hole.
CPB and John Holland had hoped to be digging by June and have asked three waste companies bidding to handle the PFAS-contaminated dirt to submit their best and final offer.
All three sites at Bacchus Marsh, Bulla and Ravenhall have environmental and planning approval to handle the soil but are waiting to find out who will be awarded contracts.
Digging on the project has effectively stalled since a dispute broke out about cost overruns related to dirt containing industrial chemical PFAS and asbestos. Picture : Ian Currie
The Herald Sun understands that building a safe and secure site to store contaminated soil would take four to six months, with sources saying they have been told it is now unlikely major tunnelling would be able to begin until the new year.
Less construction work will be possible during the wetter winter months, while a Supreme Court challenge from three local councils is also yet to be resolved.
A government spokeswoman said thousands of workers were making progress on other parts of the project.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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