Major Metronet project over budget and delayed

An artist impression of the future Nicholson Road train station in Canning Vale.
An artist impression of the future Nicholson Road train station in Canning Vale.

ONE of the State Government’s most high-profile Metronet projects is set to finish two years behind schedule and well over the original budget.

The Thornlie-Cockburn Link will not be operational until 2023, while the project’s cost has blown out by about $180m.

Initially, the State Government had forecast a 2021 completion date for the project, which will connect Thornlie and Cockburn train stations via 17.5km of new rail and two new stations in Canning Vale.

However, after officially signing the construction contract for the project on Tuesday, the State Government confirmed the Thornlie-Cockburn Link would not be ready for nearly four years and it would cost $716m.

In 2017, the government stated the project would cost $474m, although it later budgeted at $535.8 million.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the inflated costs and delayed timeline were largely due to third-party infrastructure.

“As part of this project, we’re relocating not only the freight line but also a major oil pipeline,” she said. “Those issues have created a starting date of 2023, but we expect to finish construction in 2022.”

An artist impression of the Ranford Road Station, which is now scheduled to open in 2023.

Ms Saffioti said the third party infrastructure costs were about $80 million, but the overall project still represented a bargain.

“There are other costs; we’re going to have to enhance the platforms and the rail lines going into the station,” she said.

“When you look at the cost of this project, compared to what’s being delivered over east, our costs represent value for money for WA taxpayers.

“In relation to cost per kilometre, this is one of the best value projects going around.”

In a blow to Cockburn commuters, works on the Kwinana Freeway component of the rail project will be integrated into the current freeway upgrades between Beeliar and Berrigan drives, meaning a delay on opening the extra northbound freeway lanes and ongoing construction works until April.

Works on the railway connection have started, with the Karel Avenue bridge in Jandakot being lengthened to make room for the new rail corridor.

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