Work towards the long awaited rail link to Melbourne Airport has begun, with drilling for soil testing to help inform the detailed Business Case.
Rail Projects Victoria, which will oversee delivery of the Melbourne Airport Rail Link (MARL), is assessing ground conditions across several locations to enable detailed planning.
Geotechnical drilling investigations are used to establish ground conditions and soil quality, and involve drilling boreholes up to 25 centimetres in diameter and 45 metres deep to collect soil and rock samples.
The investigations are conducted at six sites around the M80 Ring Road in Tullamarine, and also near the Maribyrnong River to guide further planning of the preferred Sunshine route. Each investigation takes around two weeks to complete.
The work will inform the design of the new rail line and how it will be built, with further testing later this year.
Expert technical advisors started initial environmental investigations in late 2018, with ecological surveys to identify any protected flora and fauna.
Construction of the rail link is scheduled to start in 2022, subject to required approvals. Construction is expected to take up to nine years, with up to $5 billion committed by the State government to build this vital project.
The total cost of the project will be determined in the full Business Case, and is estimated to be in the range of $8-$13 billion.