THE Australian Rail and Track Corporation has awarded major contracts for the $400-million Port Botany rail duplication project and the Cabramatta loop projects.

The contract to design and build the Port Botany rail duplication was awarded to John Holland and the contract for the Cabramatta Loop was awarded to Fulton Hogan.

ARTC CEO Mark Campbell said this marks a significant step in the delivery of this transformational project.

“The project will help meet future demand at Port Botany, where the freight task is predicted to increase by 77% by 2036,” he said.

“The Botany Rail Duplication will duplicate the remaining 2.9-kilometre section of single line track between Mascot and Botany, while the 1.65-kilometre Cabramatta Loop will allow freight trains up to 1,300-metres in length travelling in either direction on the Southern Sydney Freight Line to pass each other.”

Mr Campbell said the projects would encourage more freight movements to be made by rail helping to shift freight away from road and reduce the rate of growth in truck movements and traffic congestion.

“Each extra freight train travelling on the Port Botany Rail Line will take up to 54 trucks off Sydney’s roads,” he said.

ARTC is delivering both projects on behalf of the Australian Government.

The Port Botany rail duplication project will include 2.9 kilometres of new track within the existing rail corridor, as well as track realignment and upgrade.

The project also includes new crossovers to allow trains to move between tracks and new rail bridges at Mill Stream, Southern Cross Drive, O’Riordan Street and Robey Street.

And the Cabramatta loop project includes a realignment of 550 metres of existing track, two new bridges and road works, in addition to a 1.65-kilometre section of track.

ARTC said the awarded contracts follow an “intensive” tender and evaluation process that continued throughout 2020 and into 2021.

Following site mobilisation in the second half of 2021, major construction works on both the Botany Rail duplication and Cabramatta loop are scheduled to commence in the first quarter of next year.

The NSW government announced the fast-tracking of the two projects in August of 2020 and they have been included on Infrastructure Australia’s list of priority projects.