A JV of Bouygues/Lend Lease has been announced preferred bidder by client organisation Transurban, for the contract to design and construct the $3bn, 9km long twin NorthConnex tunnels linking Sydney’s M1 and M2 freeways. The project includes a construction budget of $2.65bn along with land acquisition and project delivery costs and is now subject to planning approval and finalisation of contract.
Transurban’s Chief Executive Officer, Scott Charlton, said, “We have gone through a unique and innovative competitive tender process to select Lend Lease/Bouygues as the design and construction contractor. The twin tunnels will provide significant travel time savings for commuters and the freight network benefiting the NSW and Australian economies”.
NorthConnex is a 9km long tolled link from the southern end of the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga to the Hills M2 Motorway at its existing Pennant Hills Road interchange.
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Tolls for the tunnels will be designed to align with the Hills M2 Motorway.
Mr Charlton said the tender process overseen by Transurban had demonstrated the benefits of private sector led procurement. The benefits included a fast tracked timeframe and turn around, reduced cost for tenderers, and innovative tender solutions.
“We received expressions of interest from a number of strong bidding consortia which resulted in delivering a design which is strong on innovation, sustainability and with enhanced outcomes for the road users and residents in the project corridor,” Mr Charlton said.
Mr Charlton said the design had incorporated a number of lessons learnt from other tunnel projects in order to make sure the NorthConnex tunnels were reaching the highest levels of sustainability and functionality.
“On site there will be a high level of construction waste recycling, the builders will maximise collection and reuse of non-potable water while in the tunnel they will establish and run low energy lighting and energy efficient tunnel ventilation systems,” he said.
“This will ensure the design and construction of the tunnel makes it one of the most sustainable road projects currently underway. The selected solution was one that minimises impact on property and the environment. It will have the highest headroom of any road tunnel in Australia (5.3m) and its alignment has been carefully designed to maintain consistent vehicle speed.”
Transurban approached the NSW Government in 2012 under the Government’s unsolicited proposal regime to design, build, operate and finance the link. In May last year the proposal moved to stage three which involved negotiating and submitting a final binding offer. With the announcement today the project moves into the planning approval stage with the public display of the Environmental Impact Assessment.
If approved work on NorthConnex would expect to begin in 2015 with the project open for use in 2019.