Big names in the property and construction in Australia such as Lend Lease, Leighton Contractors, John Holland and Transfield Services as well as huge international icons are featured among three consortia named in the race to build Melbourne’s landmark East-West Link project.

Unveiling the short-list for the project in a joint statement on Monday, State Premier Dennis Napthine and Treasurer Michael O’Brien claimed the selection represented ‘the strongest field ever’ for a major building project in the country.

“We have assembled the global might of the world’s leading tunnelling firms, as well as every major Australian construction firm” Napthine says.

“We expected to get the ‘best of the best’ bidding for East West Link, but the strength of the bidding teams has surpassed our highest expectations.”

Each of the consortia will now have the opportunity to bid for the new link – an eighteen kilometer cross-city road linking the Eastern Freeway with the Tullamarine Freeway and CityLink (Stage one) and subsequently to the Western Ring Road (Stage Two) in Melbourne’s west.

The three consortia include:

  • The East West Connect consortium, including Lend Lease, infrastructure fund manager Capella Capital,  Spanish civil construction giant Acciona and French builder Bouygues.
  • The Inner Link Group, comprising Spanish giants Cintra Infrastructuras S.A and Ferrovial (Australia), Korean Samsung C&T Corporation, Italy’s Ghella, Transfield Services, Macquarie Capital and Retail Employees Superannuation.
  • The Momentum Infrastructure Corporation, made up of John Holland, Leighton Contractors, Spain’s Dragados (Australia) and Iridium S.A and the Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ.

Whilst members of East West previously built Brisbane’s Legacy Way and Melbourne’s Peninsula Link as well as the Pajares Tunnel in Spain and the Port of Miami Tunnel, the Inner Link group have been involved in Melbourne’s EastLink, South Korea’s Incheon Bridge and Canada’s 407ETR.

Momentum members, meanwhile, have worked on EastLink and CityLink (Melbourne), Airport Link (Brisbane), CLEM7 (Brisbane), Lane Cove Tunnel (Sydney), Alaskan Way (Seattle), Madrid M-30 (Spain) and Interstate595 (Florida).

O’Brien says the short-listed candidates enjoy financial credentials which would support the project moving forward into construction next year.

A Request for Proposal will be out in October, with contracts expected to be awarded in the second half of next year and construction expected to commence shortly thereon after.

Completion of stage one is set for 2019.