John Holland and CPB Contractors JV to build Melbourne’s West Gate Tunnel Project
A major breakthrough has been made in much-scrutinised West Gate Tunnel Project in Melbourne, Australia as the finalisation of contracts was announced.
Transurban and the Government of Victoria have awarded construction contracts to CPB Contractors and John Holland to jointly build and manage the new route under the Yarra River.
Costing around $4.16bn, construction is set to begin next year and will be finished in time for a 2022 opening, providing an alternative river crossing to the West Gate Bridge.
Design and construction works include widening the West Gate Freeway from eight lanes to 12 between the M80 Ring Road and Williamstown Road; a 2.8km eastbound tunnel and 4km westbound tunnel under Yarraville; a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River; an elevated road along Footscray Road to the Port of Melbourne, CityLink and the city’s north; and major new cycling and pedestrian paths.
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John Holland’s Executive General Manager VIC, Trevor Hall, said he looked forward to working with the community to deliver this important piece of infrastructure: “Our solution features urban design with high social and environmental value. We will work in partnership with residents and other stakeholders to ensure the project provides exceptional outcomes.”
The awarding of contracts is a major breakthrough for a project that has been subject to scrutiny over the course of the year.
In particular, there has been debate as to whether it will help ease traffic congestion. Transurban says it will take around 28,000 vehicles off the West Gate Bridge and 22,000 off the Bolte Bridge every day and improve travel times by up to 20 minutes for drivers.
However, a study conducted by Melbourne City Council said the new road system could result in a bottleneck of traffic flowing into the northern parts of the city which will cause rush hour to last between 12 and 14 hours.
Further details on the project can be found at: www.westgatetunnelproject.vic.gov.au.
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.