THE Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has awarded McConnell Dowell a contract to conduct the first phase designs and early delivery activities for the $A 10bn ($US 7.11bn) Inland Rail project in Victoria.

The contract includes the design and preparatory works at four sites on the existing North East line that will allow double-stack freight trains to operate on the existing section between Beveridge and Albury.

McConnell Dowell will conduct site investigations to inform the preliminary and detailed designs for utilities, signalling, track slews and upgrades of rail structures at the Seymour-Avenel Road bridge in Seymour, Murray Valley Highway in Barnawartha North, Wangaratta station precinct and Wangaratta and Beaconsfield Parade precinct in Glenrowan.

ARTC Inland Rail interim chief executive, Ms Rebecca Pickering, said construction would start in mid-2022 once all planning approvals were received.

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