A massive tunnelling contract in Australia has been awarded to the Spark consortium. The project forms part of the North East Link PPP Primary Package in Melbourne, Australia, worth US$8.35 billion (A$11.1 billion).
The Spark Consortium comprises Webuild, GS Engineering and Construction, CPB Contractors, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing Investments, DIF and Pacific Partnerships. Italian contractor Webuild heads the construction consortium and its stake in the project is worth $2.48 billion (A$3.3 billion). Webuild will also hold a 7.5% stake in the project company that will operate and maintain the infrastructure once it is completed.
The North East Link is the largest private‐public partnership (PPP) for an infrastructure project in Australia. The project is being developed with a strong element of sustainability and will provide an essential link in the city’s highway network.
The new route is expected to lower congestion levels and improve times for drivers in Melbourne. It will take 15,000 trucks/day away from local roads and is expected to lower journey times by up to 35 minutes for commuters.
Webuild, as part of the design and construction joint‐venture, will design and build twin three‐lane tunnels around 6.5km, using TBMs for the main drive. When complete, the North East Link PPP will be the longest road tunnel in the state of Victoria.
The tunnelling work is part of the Primary Package that the Spark consortium was awarded by the North East Link Authority, which is overseeing the development of the entire project, fixing the missing link in Melbourne’s freeway network between the M80 and the Eastern Freeway in the city’s northeast.