On track despite a blowout

Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade project price hike due to escalating costs

By Sonia Isaacs

THE Beerburrum to Nambour Rail upgrade (B2N) is still expected to be completed on time despite a $500 million blowout in costs.
The project is set to duplicate a 20km section between Beerburrum and Landsborough stations and make improvements such as station upgrades including Park ‘n’ Ride facilities.
It will also include new passing loops at stations.
The ultimate aim is to reduce travel time and increase passenger and freight services on the North Coast railway line.
A Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said the upgrade had now entered the ‘preconstruction and design’ phase. The cost of the project has almost doubled from its original $550m budget to just over $1 billion.
“Like many other large-scale construction projects, B2N Stage 1 was affected by labour and material cost escalations that are being felt industry wide,” the spokesperson said.
Construction will now run concurrently with the $5.5b Direct Sunshine Coast Rail Line (DSC) and other Sunshine Coast public transport projects.
A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said detailed design was underway for B2N, and would continue throughout 2024.
“The timing for delivery and staging of construction works will be finalised following the completion of detailed design and after a construction contract is awarded,” the TMR spokesperson said.
“Construction of Stage 1 is expected to be completed in 2027, weather and construction conditions permitting. Future stages of the B2N will be confirmed as part of the $6.25 million duplication study.”
This study will review demand to develop a blueprint for investment on the North Coast Line beyond the completion of B2N Stage 1 to 2046. It is expected the pathway to full duplication will also be considered within this study.
Stage 1 will duplicate the section of rail track between Beerburrum and Beerwah, and include building three new road-over-rail bridges at Beerburrum Road, Barrs Road and Burgess Street.
A spokesperson for the Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Catherine King, confirmed additional funding of $226.7m had been allocated in the May budget towards the Beerburrum to Nambour Rail Upgrade.
“Additional funding was required due to cost pressures arising from changed market conditions, updated rail safety requirements, environmental approval conditions and design upgrades,” the spokesperson said.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor, Rosanna Natoli, said she welcomed the additional federal funding announced last month towards both the B2N upgrade and Direct Sunshine Coast Rail project.
“They represent important public transport solutions for our region,” she said.