Sydney Lane Cove investors chosen

October 27, 2003

The state government has chosen Theiss Transfield ABN AMRO (builder, builder, banker) under the banner Lane Cove Tunnel Consortium as its preferred consortium to build finance toll and operate the Lane Cove Tunnel in Sydney's northern suburbs. The project to cost about $660m (A$1.1b) will link the M2 Hills toll motorway which goes east west across the northern suburbs to the Gore Hill and Warringah freeways which lead south to the Harbour Bridge and Tunnel. At present northern suburbs traffic bound for the city, airport or other destinations on the southside of the harbor must make their way through horrible congestion on Epping Road, a signalized arterial in the suburb of Lane Cove. The Lane Cove Tunnel will be 2x3-lanes of underground construction that will leave Epping Road as a local distributor. The project includes a bridge over the Lane Cove River and short section of surface roadway at its western end, new ramps interchange with the Pacific Highway at its eastern end, and a widening of the Gore Hill Freeway approaches and new tolled ramps on the Warringah Freeway. Six sets of traffic signals will be avoided. Transit will benefit by the designation of dedicated bus lanes on Epping Road.

Tolls will be $1.20 for use of the main tunnels and 60c for use of the new tolled ramps at Falcon Street. Tolling will be all electronic (no cash collection.)

Details of a contract have to be negotiated but the government has set 2007 for the opening of the facility. Opening at about the same time as the M7 Westlink (prev Western Sydney Orbital) the two toll projects will complete the Sydney "Orbital" motorway system, a rectangle with 115km (71mi) of modern highway.

Losing out were consortia:

• Leighton Deutsche Bank

• Baulderstone Hornibrook Bilfinger Berger

• Abigroup Ferrovial Macquarie

In a downselection to two Leighton Deutsche Bank competed against the successful group. At that time (2003-06-26) the brilliant reporters of the AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW ran a headline "Leighton a sure thing for tunnel." TRnews 2003-10-27

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