East West Link,

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) has announced plans to invest A$525m ($409m) NorthConnex road tunnel project, which is being built to improve traffic in north of Sydney, Australia.

With the investment, CPPIB will take 25% ownership interest in the project.

A consortium consisting of CPPIB, Transurban Group and Queensland Investment (QIC) are set to build and operate the new A$2.9bn ($2.2bn) NorthConnex tolled tunnel motorway located north-west of Sydney.

Connecting Sydney’s northern suburbs with the Orbital road network, the tunnel motorway will reduce freight traffic congestion on an existing arterial road and improving traffic flow.

"The project will deliver real benefits for Sydney by easing traffic congestion."

The motorway will span 9km and is claimed to be the longest road tunnel project in Australia.

Australia’s Assistant Infrastructure Minister Jamie Briggs said, "NorthConnex will link the M1 Pacific Motorway at Wahroonga to the Hills M2 Motorway at the Pennant Hills Road interchange at West Pennant Hills.

"The project will deliver real benefits for Sydney by easing traffic congestion, particularly along Pennant Hills Road, enabling commuters and freight trucks to bypass up to 21 traffic lights and reduce travel time by up to 15min.

"NorthConnex will also reduce the number of heavy vehicles travelling along Pennant Hills Road by more than 5,000 trucks per day.
Construction of the tunnel is set to begin later this month, with completion slated in 2019."

The consortium partners and the New South Wales and Australian Governments will fund the project.

CPPIB head of infrastructure managing director Cressida Hogg said: "The NorthConnex tunnel will create a vital link in Sydney that will play a significant role in alleviating traffic congestion. We look forward to working together with an experienced toll road operator in Transurban and a well-aligned, long-term investor in QIC."

CPPIB owns a 25% interest in the Westlink M7 toll road in Sydney, through its acquisition of Intoll Group in 2010.

Image: East West Link, a new 6.6km freeway link in northern Melbourne. Photo: courtesy of Bouygues Construction Australia.