Brisbane tunnel go-ahead

By Chris Sleight20 May 2008

The BrisConnections consortium has been named preferred tenderer for Australia's largest current road project and the country's biggest ever Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme. The Airport Link project has a total value of AU$ 4.8 billion (US$ 4.49 billion) and includes a 6.7 km road tunnel, the longest in Australia.

The scheme is designed to cut congestion around the city of Brisbane and comprises three elements, a new road connection to the airport in the form of the 7 km Airport Link toll road, a 750 m bridge over the current airport round about, and a 3 km section of the Northern Busway. At AU$ 3.4 billion (US$ 3.18 billion) the most expensive section is the tunnel, which the consortium describes as being the most complex road and tunnel engineering feat in Queensland's history.

The BrisConnections consortium comprises Macquarie Capital Group, along with Thiess and John Holland - both subsidiaries of Leighton, and consultants Arup and PB.

According to BrisConnections chairman Trevor Rowe, the Airport Link project will cut 17 sets of traffic lights out of the drive to the airport and reduce travel times by 17 minutes by 2012.

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