Brisbane Metro makes tracks

Brisbane is one step closer to joining Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra as low-carbon transport fans, with the $944 million Brisbane Metro project gaining momentum.

The tender for constructing the depot for the project’s fleet of fully-electric vehicles is expected to be released mid this year, with early works at the Rochedale site now underway. The depot will provide space for 60 Metro vehicles, charging infrastructure and maintenance and staff facilities

The project is being jointly funded by Brisbane City Council and the federal government.

On completion of Stage 1, rubber-tyred electric metro trains will provide peak hour services departing every three minutes at 18 stops along the 21 km route between Eight Mile Plains and Roma Street, and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and University of Queensland. Existing busways will be used, rather than purpose-built tram tracks, as was the case for the r Canberra and Sydney metros. 

The preferred tenderer for the vehicles, Brisbane-based suppliers Volgren and electric-vehicle producer HESS, was announced in November, and the first trial vehicle is expected to be delivered soon, stationed at Volgren’s Eagle Farm depot for testing and trial runs.

Keep an eye on the Brisbane City Council tenders website and the project website for details of when tenders and works packages are up for grabs.

Residential upgrades in Victoria

The next phase of the Victorian government’s Affordable Retrofits program for households experiencing energy stress is out for tender. Phase 2 of the Energy Savvy Upgrades is looking to recruit and assist 332 households across Cities of Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Moreland and Mornington Peninsula.

The package of works will include recruiting households to undertake a rating using the Victorian Residential Energy Efficiency Scorecard and then providing partially-subsidised deep retrofit services and products to improve the homes energy-efficiency and thermal performance.

The program is specifically targeting either tenant or owner-occupier households who are experiencing energy stress due to low incomes, chronic or severe medical conditions, unemployment or similar circumstances.

Households will be required to make co-payments towards the program, including $100 for a scorecard assessment and a minimum of 50 per cent of the total upgrade cost. The government will kick in 50 per cent of upgrade costs to a maximum of $800 per household.

The successful tenderer will also assist participants to obtain the best available energy retail plan and connect them with green finance options, or low-interest loans such as Good Money or Environmental Upgrade Finance if available.

The tender closes 12 March at 2pm Victorian time. Details here.

Improving cycle safety in ACT

We hadn’t heard of “wombat crossings” in connection with cycle safety until we spotted the ACT government tender for its Active Travel Cycling Network Improvements Stage 1 – Priority Crossing Construction Works.

They are nothing to do with the beloved marsupial, but are a raised, marked hump in a roadway that slows traffic and indicates pedestrians and cyclists have right of way. The ACT is looking to install several of them as part of the project currently out to tender.

In total, works include upgrades to cycle paths and road crossings at 10 locations, along with multiple street lighting upgrades, signage and wayfinding upgrades, intersection modifications, stormwater drainage, landscaping and repairs and maintenance to existing cycle paths.

Tender closes 5 March at 2pm, ACT time.  Details here.

New silica dust research

Crystalline silica dust has been described as the new asbestos in terms of its health impact for construction trades. Now

SafeWork Australia is calling for researchers to examine the question of how risky short-term exposure is. 

A tender is open for a researcher to report on relevant research on the health effects of exposure to silica dust and make evidence-based recommendations for a short-term (15 minutes or less) health-based exposure limit.

The research needs to also identify what is known about short-term health effects of exposure, and whether there is a specific airborne concentration limit associated with any critical effects of breathing in crystalline silica dust.

A review of workplace exposure standards in December 2018 recommended the eight hour time-weighted exposure limit be reduced to 0.02mg per cubic metre of air but in 2019 a majority of workplace health and safety ministers agreed to a slightly higher limit of 0.05mg/m3.

During a public consultation in 2019, stakeholders submitted new data and research that could assist with developing an appropriate short-term exposure limit. These sources will form part of the information made available to the successful tenderer.

The tender closes 17 March, at 2.30pm ACT time. Details here.

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