Downer and CIMIC have won the $420 million contract to build the first stage of the NSW government’s Parramatta Light Rail project.

The ASX-listed construction firms say a 50:50 joint venture between Downer and CIMIC’s CPB Contractors will commence construction in the new year.

Stage one of the project is a 12-kilometre route linking the Parramatta CBD to the Westmead Health precinct, Parramatta North Urban Transformation Program, the new Western Sydney Stadium, three Western Sydney University campuses, the relocated Powerhouse Museum, Rosehill Racecourse, the Camellia Precinct and redevelopment at Telopea.

Parramatta Light Rail is expected to begin passenger services in 2023.

‘Our population will continue to grow and our cities, including Parramatta, will become increasingly urbanised,’ Downer chief executive Grant Fenn said on Thursday.

‘Downer will continue to work closely with our customers, including the NSW Government, to deliver safe and reliable services that meet the future needs of our communities.’

Downer shares were down 4.5 cents, or 0.7 per cent, at $6.485 at 1215 AEDT.

CIMIC’s were down 54 cents, or 1.27 per cent, to $42.11 against the backdrop of a flat overall market.