Italy-based contractor Salini Impregilo is on a short list for a high-priority design-and-build road contract in Australia.

A statement from Salini reports that, along with its consortium partners – Lane Worldwide (which is fully owned by Salini) and Fluor Australia – it is close to securing the contract to build the Western Distributor road project in the state of Victoria.

Including two river crossings, a widening of the West Gate Freeway and port connections, the contract is valued at AU$ 5.5 billion (US$ 3.98 billion).

The work is reportedly required to ease traffic congestion on Melbourne's existing West Gate Bridge and cut commuting times into and out of the city.

With a completion date of 2022, the project is set to create some 5,600.

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