Proposals sought for A$8bn Melbourne road

Victoria’s coalition government has launched an Expressions of Interest process for stage one of the East West link.

The government of Victoria has called for Expressions of Interest (EoI) to participate in stage one of the East West road link, which would be the largest infrastructure project in the state’s history.

Stage one of the project, which is aiming to improve traffic congestion and travel times around Melbourne and boost Victoria’s productivity, is forecast to cost between A$6 billion (€4.2 billion; $5.5 billion) and A$8 billion.

Roads Minister Terry Mulder said proposals would be evaluated based on: design, construction capability and experience; operations, maintenance capability and experience; stakeholder engagement; financing capacity and capability; commercial structure; and innovation.

Construction of the project is expected to commence in late 2014 and complete between 2019 and 2020. Acting Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips said the state government had already received “strong interest from some of the world’s largest construction and finance companies” to deliver the project.

Rich-Phillips said the government intends to deliver the East West link project as an availability-based public-private partnership (PPP), with the state initially retaining tolling and traffic risk.

“An availability PPP will secure strong competition for the construction, operation and financing of the project,” added Rich-Phillips.

Those wishing to participate have six weeks to submit their expressions of interest, with the Linking Melbourne Authority expected to go to market with a Request for Tender in October. The contract is expected to be awarded in late 2014.

The Victorian budget for 2013-14 allowed for a state contribution to the delivery of stage one, including A$294 million to commence procurement and start early works.