Brisbane awards Northern Link highway
Brisbane awards Northern Link highway Sep 2010
Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
Transcity is awarded the Northern Link highway tunnel project in Brisbane, Australia. Under its Aust$1.5 billion proposal (US$1.4 billion), the consortium of partners Acciona SA of Spain, Brisbane-based developers BMD, and tunnelling company Ghella of Italy, will design, construct, operate and maintain the new Northern Link toll highway for a period of 4+10 years - 49 months for design and construction and 10 years for operation and maintenance. The Northern Link, now renamed by the Brisbane City Council to Legacy Way, is the third of four toll tunnel highway projects adopted by Queensland's state capital to ease traffic congestion and prepare for forecasted urban expansion.
Transcity's bid is selected over competitive bid from Northern Direct, a JV of Bouygues (France), Laing O'Rourke (UK) and Transfield (Australia). A third proposal from a JV of Australia's Leighton, German parent-company Bilfinger Berger's Baulderstone, and Razel of France was dropped soon after proposals were submitted in May.

Fig 1. Proposed Legacy Way alignment

The Legacy Way project is a 5.5km section of new four-lane highway to connect the Western Freeway at Toowong Roundabout to the Inner City Bypass (Fig 1). Some 4.3km of the highway runs in twin, two-lane tunnels excavated under some of Brisbane's most exclusive communities using a combination of cut-and-cover, TBM, roadheader and drill+blast methods. The Legacy Way project is on track to start construction by February 2011 and be completed in 2015.
Following announcement of the award, Brisbane's Lord Mayor Campbell Newman, a champion and principle advocate of the TransApex system of roads, bridges and tunnels that will form an inner city ring road around Brisbane's central business district, said: "Brisbane City Council chose Transcity's bid because of the outstanding value for money it provides for ratepayers, combining innovative design with strong community outcomes."
Other projects in the TransApex system include the the CLEM7 tunnel under the Brisbane River from Woolloongabba to Bowen Hills which opened to toll traffic in March this year (2010); the Airport Link tunnel from Toombul to Bowen Hills which is currently under construction; the Go Between Bridge (also known of the Hale Street Bridge) over the river from South Brisbane to Milton, which was planned initially as an under river tunnel and which opened to toll traffic in July; and the East-West Link toll tunnel highway from the Pacific Motorway at Buranda with the Western Freeway and Toowong which is planned to be built after 2026, depending on traffic studies to be conducted in 2011.
Fig 2. The TransApex elements

Fig 2. The TransApex elements

In a statement, Acciona Australia's Manager, Brett Thomas, expressed the consortium's satisfaction on winning the project and said that the team has the experience, technical excellence and international level of management and maintenance capacity, as well as the knowledge and commitment of a local partner.
Among its major infrastructure projects, Acciona was involved in construction of the Calle-30 ring-road project in Madrid with its two 15m diameter mega-TBM drives. In Australia, Acciona is working on obtaining large scale solar energy projects, including one in Queensland and is part of the consortium which has designed, is building and will operate the first large scale desalination plant close to Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia.
As part of the BMD Group, BMD Constructions has its head office in Brisbane and operates in the transport, mining, energy and urban development sectors. Its latest projects include extension of the F3 freeway to the north of Sydney.
Founded in 1894, Ghella is a specialist in tunnels and has the capacity and is equipped to design and construct tunnels using mechanical as well as traditional methods. It is a private company and has excavated more than 70km of tunnels in the last five years. Among its current tunnelling projects is the 14km Maldonado floodwater control tunnel in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where the first TBM breakthrough was celebrated on Monday this week (20 September 2010).
Brisbane road tunnels celebrate milestones - TunnelTalk, Dec 2009
TBM launch for Brisbane Airport Link - TunnelTalk, Aug 2010
First breakthrough for the Maldonado tunnel - TunnelTalk, Sep 2010

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