Divers continue to spend hours in the water below Perth’s CBD helping to future-proof vital infrastructure as part of the first stage of the Elizabeth Quay project.

Elizabeth Quay (formerly Perth Waterfront) is a $2.6 billion project at the centre of a bold plan to revitalise central Perth.

Covering nearly 10 hectares of prime riverfront land, the project will create a mixed-use precinct featuring a 2.7-hectare inlet surrounded by a split level promenade, shops, cafes, restaurants and other entertainment venues. It will also provide new inner-city residential options, with more than 800 apartments planned, as well as much-needed hotel and short-stay accommodation, and significant additional commercial space providing workspace to around 10,000 people.

The work of the intrepid divers will see the city’s main storm water drain upgraded and is just one of the infrastructure projects taking place below ground.

Planning Minister John Day said the upgrades were a key component of the first stage of Elizabeth Quay and would pave the way for the construction of the inlet.

“The work currently under way will lay the foundation for Elizabeth Quay, and at the same time boost water, drainage and power infrastructure to meet the needs of the city for decades to come,” Day said. “This work will ensure that essential services to the wider CBD, and eventually the precinct, can cater for our growing population.”

He noted that divers were spending as long as four hours per dive working on realigning and upgrading the city’s main storm water drain and that additional work includes the installation of a new water main, the construction of 13 large underground power pits and the laying of extra power conduits.

“Another major benefit of the Elizabeth Quay project is the construction of a new city-bound traffic link from Point Lewis Rotary (under the Narrows Bridge) to William Street,” he added. “This stretch currently only accommodates westbound traffic but is being modified to provide an alternative route into the city.”

The Minister said Elizabeth Quay would create more than 400 jobs during the construction phase and would help generate private sector investment in WA’s economy.

“The State Government’s $1.75 billion commitment to Elizabeth Quay, Perth City Link, Riverside and the Perth Cultural Centre will generate more than $9billion in private sector investment for Western Australia’s economy,” Day said.

Elizabeth Quay is on time and on budget, with the public realm and inlet scheduled for completion in mid-2015.