Screens & Feeders

New tunnel to boost jobs, construction sector confidence

Following extensive community consultation, the South Australian Government has released the impact report for the O-Bahn City Access Project, bringing the $160 million infrastructure proposal one step closer to realisation.

The project would connect the existing O-Bahn bus track to the Adelaide CBD via a 650m underground tunnel in order to reduce traffic congestion and improve travel times for commuters.

Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia (CCAA) SA state director Todd Hacking described the extension as a “major win” for public transport users and passenger vehicles.

“It is another fine example of concrete being used to build an important piece of infrastructure,” Hacking said. “The 650m concrete tunnel that will make this project a reality is a much needed infrastructure project that will support the heavy construction materials industry at a time when private infrastructure and residential construction is soft.”

Stimulating the economy

It is no secret that construction activity has been slowing in recent times, mainly due to the winding down of resource-related projects that have started to move into their operational phases.

The latest Australian Performance of Construction Index released by the Australian Industry Group and the Housing Industry Association showed that overall activity across the construction industry contracted for the ninth consecutive month in July, with engineering and commercial construction in their 13th and ninth consecutive months of contraction respectively.

Phil Sutherland, CEO of the Civil Contractors Federation’s SA branch, said the O-Bahn project came at a time when private investment in infrastructure was at a historic low, and commended the SA Government for “filling the gap” with a publicly-funded project that would help stimulate the economy.

Master Builders Australia SA executive director John Stokes added that the proposed tunnel project would help improve confidence within the private sector. “This project creates jobs when many businesses are reporting a slowing of demand [and] it creates demand for skilled workers who might otherwise look for opportunities interstate,” he said.

State Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan estimated the project would support about 450 jobs in the construction, professional and technical services industries, as well as material suppliers.

“Combined with other major projects, the O-Bahn tunnel will help build confidence in the local construction sector,” he said.

Construction on the O-Bahn project is expected to commence later this year and to be completed in the second half of 2017.

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