Tender goes live today for Stage 1 of the Sydney to Auckland Tunnel.
The Cross-Tasman tunnel is one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects ever attempted. At 2,152km long, the tunnel will completely eclipse the 57km long Gothard Base Tunnel, expected to open in the Swiss Alps this year.
Connecting Sydney with Auckland, the Cross-Tasman Tunnel will form a direct link between the economic centres of both great nations.
The project timeline is estimated at 17 years, with an average of 2,000 workers involved in construction and support operations at any one time.
Currently, the Federal Government is seeking a late 2017 start to works, which would give a completion date of somewhere towards the end of 2034.
The Cross-Tasman Tunnel will deliver significant benefits for both countries. Addressing the press, Federal Minister for Infrastructure Darren Chester said, "This is the biggest and most significant infrastructure project since the Snowy Mountains Scheme. This is the kind of investment that will pay dividends for centuries to come - it's exciting that we can finally announce it's going ahead."
According to the Cross-Tasman Tunnel website, the project will deliver a raft of benefits.
It's set to improve economic relations between Australia and New Zealand, with significantly increased freight and "day trips" boosting the tourism incomes of both Sydney and Auckland.
One of the key outcomes of the Cross-Tasman Tunnel is closer political relations. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has announced a referendum committee will begin preparations for a "union vote" in 2018. At a press conference yesterday, Mr Key stated, "It's time to look to the future. We shared a strong and prosperous past with Australia, and we need to rekindle those links. New Zealand and Australia, united together, will constitute an economic and political powerhouse in the South Pacific that cannot be matched."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shares Mr Key's sentiments. He claims that he will take concrete steps towards a referendum if the coalition wins the election later this year.
With a price tag of AUD$74 billion, the tunnel also takes the prize for the most expensive public works project in the history of the nation. The Australian federal government will be fronting $64 billion, with the New Zealand government picking up a further $8 billion and NSW contributing $2 billion. Full funding for the project is yet to be secured, however, $4.8 billion for initial development has been allocated.
Machinery and equipment needs for this project alone will outstrip the entire demand for machinery in NSW at present.
Known Plant Hire Requirements:
- Grader with a snow plough and reach-around ripper
- Backhoe with a front-hoe attachment
- 13,000 12L water pumps, jockeyed together, end-to-end
- Shepherds with Shepherding Competency Tickets. There'll be a large Kiwi workforce involved in digging through from the Auckland side. The shepherds will arrange for worker entertainment in the evenings and keep everyone over there organised.
- Caterpillar wheeled-mounted D12 dozers
- Several sets of Skyhooks
- Stop and Go signs with a long-weight attachment
- Skid-steers fitted with Penguin levellers
- Line markers with black and white chequered paint
- 12 Rear-end loaders
- Also, does anyone have a 50m diameter tunnel boring machine lying around?
Tender closes at Midday today. Click here to register your machines on iseekplant for free!