Development of the long-mooted freight hub at Bomen has moved a step closer, with tenders closing for two stages of the multi-million dollar project.
Wagga City Council's manager of city strategy Tristan Kell said on Tuesday that council staff were impressed with the number of the bids and the quality of the potential contractors.
Stage two of Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics hub project is a $14.4 million five-kilometre rail siding and terminal, while stage three is a $29 million industrial subdivision.
Mr Kell said council staff were now assessing the tender bids, with an eye to starting negotiations with potential contractors.
"It's a complex process, but we are keen to get something locked in by the end of May," he said.
Mr Kell said council's goal was to have "that terminal hub humming by the end of 2022".
The first stage of the intermodal freight hub - which is effectively a terminal for the transfer of containers between road and rail - will see Visy Logistics fund the construction of the freight terminal and then operate it on a long-term lease, in a project valued at between $5 and $10 million.
Mr Kell said the tenders closing for stage two and three of the freight hub came just weeks ahead of the expected release on public exhibition of a draft master plan for a new special activation precinct, which is also being developed at Bomen.
"There will be a lot of momentum at Bomen that will carry along not just Wagga but hopefully the region as well," Mr Kell said.
"Eunony Bridge is the missing link to really make RiFL work. That was the last piece of the jigsaw to make RiFL work," Mr Kell said.
"What it will mean is that heavy vehicles, or heavy mass loads, will have access to our terminal from the Hume Highway to the east and the the Sturt and Olympics highways from the north and south.
"RiFL really will be a high-functioning transport hub and we see it as probably one of the most important inland ports in Australia."
That is a view shared by Riverina-Murray regional manager of the NSW Business Chamber, Andrew Cottrill.
"The Riverina Intermodal facility is a game changer for our region as it will spur significant economic activity, jobs and investment for Wagga," Mr Cottrill said.
"As the Inland Rail project transitions into operation, RiFL with the benefit of its Special Activation precinct status, will be a prime national and global investment destination for transport and logistics, manufacturing and value adding industries.
"The jobs and economic uplift for the city and region will be generational."
Mr Kell said there was also the prospect of a further boost to the Bomen projects, through the Inland Rail's $44 million interface improvement program.
According Member for Riverina and Deputy Prime Prime Minister Michael McCormack, who is also Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, under the program, Wagga City Council will receive support for the development of feasibility studies and business cases on ways to integrate the Inland Rail into the freight hub.
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