ACCIONA has received another award for its Toowoomba Highway project in Australia. This time it is in the 2016 Partnerships Awards, in the Best Road Project category, organized by “Partnerships Events”, a benchmark entity in Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) at world level. As well as winning the prize, ACCIONA was nominated in the categories of Best Transport Project for the Sydney light railway and Best Completed Project for the A-66 Highway.
The award was presented in a gala held last March 12th in the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London and attended by ACCIONA Managing Director in the UK Jaime Vega.
The Toowoomba Second Range Crossing Project (TSRC) is one of the key elements in the economic development plan for Southwest Queensland. It is a by-pass that will be built to the north of the city of Toowoomba, around 126 kilometers from Brisbane, and will improve traffic flow in the region by reducing the number of heavy trucks carrying hazardous goods that currently have to pass through the center of the city.
Its 41 kilometers will link the Warrego highway, to the east, with the road to Gore, in the west, via Charlton. The TSRC will include an 800-meter viaduct over a railway line and a 30-metre cutting at the top of the Range, instead of a tunnel, to allow all heavy vehicles, including those carrying dangerous goods, to use the TSRC. The Australian and Queensland Governments are jointly funding the $1.6 billion TSRC on an 80/20 basis.
ACCIONA Concessions is part of the Nexus Infrastructure joint-venture that was awarded the contract to design, build, operate and maintain the TSRC in August 2015 through a Public-Private Partnership contract valued at A$1.6 billion. Construction is expected to create around 1,800 jobs and be completed in 2018. After completion, ACCIONA Concessions will participate in the operation and maintenance of the highway under a 25-year concession.
Consortium Nexus Infrastructure was able to design and propose a wide range of options that were supported by fully underwritten debt and equity financing, enabling the state to select a superior solution to the reference design.
Judges approved of the impressive efficiency seen in the negotiations, and welcomed the strong collaboration evidenced between the public and private sectors.
They also highlighted the clear intentions for community benefit that the new project will deliver, as well as the commitment to local employment opportunities. Among the benefits to the local community, the judges praised the impact it will have on safety and increasing freight transport.
The prize joins the long list received by ACCIONA for highways in Australia. Last March, it won the IJGLobal award, granted to major infrastructure finance initiatives throughout the world, and in February this year the magazine Project Finance International recognized the Toowoomba Highway project as the most outstanding one in the Asia-Pacific region.