THE AUSTRALIAN Rail Track Corporation has commenced bridge works for the Botany Rail Duplication project.

ARTC installed the first of two temporary steel girders for the Southern Cross Drive Bridge, lifted into place by a 600-tonne crane.

The second girder is to be put in place later this month. ARTC expects the new bridge to be finished in late 2023.

Julian Richards, general manager NSW projects, major construction projects at ARTC, said the rail duplication would allow freight to be moved more efficiently.

“The Southern Cross Drive Bridge is one of five bridges we are constructing or modifying in the Botany Rail Duplication project, with major construction works for the project on track to be complete in 2024,” he said.

“I’d like to thank the ARTC and contractor teams for their efforts, and for getting the work done as efficiently as possible, minimising disruptions to motorists.

“Not only will this project increase freight capacity, it will also encourage more freight movements to be made by rail – helping to shift freight away from road transport and reduce truck movements and associated traffic congestion.

“Each extra freight train travelling on the Port Botany Rail Line will take up to 54 trucks off Sydney’s roads and that will be well received by local road users.”

The Australian government is fully funding ARTC to deliver the $400-million project, which aims to improve access to global export markets via Port Botany.

It also aims to improve freight supply chains across New South Wales and help reduce the number of trucks on local roads.

The project will duplicate the remaining 2.9-kilometre section of single line track to Port Botany and construct a passing loop on the Southern Sydney Freight Line at Cabramatta to accommodate freight trains up to 1300 metres in length.