Peninsula Link Project, Australia
In February 2010 construction started on the toll-free Peninsula Link project in Victoria, Australia. The 27km-long road, estimated to cost $759m, will connect the Mornington Peninsula Freeway in Mount Martha to the EastLink in Carrum Downs. It is the first road project to be constructed under public-private-partnership in the country.
When the project is completed in 2013, the journey time from Carrum Downs to Mount Martha will be reduced by almost 40 min to 17 min.
Peninsula Link Project
The Peninsula Link, also known as the Frankston Bypass, is being constructed as a part of $38bn Victorian Transport Plan. The plan was initiated in 2008 in an attempt to improve the transportation system in the state of Victoria. It is expected that the link road will help the state's economic growth and reduce congestion. During the project’s three-year construction period, 4,000 jobs will be created.
The equity needed for the project will be arranged by Bilfinger Berger Project Investments and Access Capital Clients. Southern Way will be responsible for providing debt finance through financiers including Royal Bank of Scotland, ANZ and National Australia Bank, Banco Bilbao Vizraya Argentaria, Banco Santander, Bank of Ireland, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, WestLB and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi.
Problems at the Peninsula Link Project
The project has proven controversial with many politicians and local people arguing that the project will not solve the congestion on the Frankston Freeway - Cranbourne Road intersection. They also feel that the there is no need to construct the road as the city’s population is not growing at a rapid pace.
Environmentalists have also been outspoken about the road, which passes through Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve and the Westerfield property. They fear that endangered and indigenous species will not be protected.
In February 2010, protestors demonstrated against the project outside of Parliament House. They say that the road will ruin the biodiversity in Carrum Downs wetlands, the Belvedere Reserve woodlands, the Pobblebonk wetland reserve, the Wittenberg reserve, the Westerfield heritage woodlands, and the Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve.
Southern Way consortium, consisting of Abigroup, Bilfinger Berger and the Royal Bank of Scotland, is responsible for designing, building and financing the link road project.
After completion of the project, the road will be operated and maintained by Bilfinger Berger Services for 25 years. At the end of the contract, the road will be delivered to Linking Melbourne Authority through Partnerships Victoria framework. The framework has been created by the Victorian Government for expanding and improving public infrastructure through public-private-partnership contracts.
The status of the project will be reviewed independently by Linking Melbourne Authority and Southern Way in association with AECOM.
The project will include the construction of 11 local road connections, a 22km-long cycling and walking path and 35 bridges. A roadside control centre and fauna crossing underpath will also be built. Around 1.5 million plants will be planted along the freeway corridor.
The link road consists of two lanes in each direction. Local road connections will be constructed at the EastLink/Mornington Peninsula Freeway, Dandenong-Frankston Road, Skye Road, Cranbourne Road, Golf Links Road, Frankston-Flinders Road, Bungower Road, Mornington-Tyabb Road and Mornington Peninsula freeway in Mount Martha.
The route will have a common cycling and walking path that will be the largest shared use path after the EastLink trail.
The 3m-wide path will start from the City of Kingston and will link to other popular paths.
Construction work on the $9.4m Lathams Road overpass in Carrum Downs has been fast-tracked and is expected to be finished in early 2011. The overpass will allow the vehicles used for construction to directly access the Peninsula Link project site.
Noise walls and mounds will be constructed to limit the traffic noise level below VicRoads Traffic Noise Reduction Policy standards.