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  • The project, which is a public-private partnership, has a net present cost of NZ$709.5 million, around AU$676 million 

3 November 2016 The Northern Express Group (NX2) consortium, which includes ACCIONA Concessions, has signed a contract with the New Zealand Transport Agency to design, construct, finance, manage and maintain for 25 years the highway between Puhoi and Warkworth, which is scheduled to open to traffic in 2022.

The project, a public-private partnership initiative with a net present cost of  NZ$709.5 million (around AU $676 million), consists of an 18.5 km four-lane extension to the Northern Motorway (SH1) from the Johnstone Hills tunnels to the north of Warkworth.

This will be the first section of the Ara Tūhono – Puhoi to Wellsford corridor, a strategic route for the country’s transport network and essential for connecting the northern region with the triangle formed by the cities and regions of Auckland, Waikato and Tauranga. The project is part of a state program to improve passenger and goods transport between some of the country’s major urban centres.

The financial partners in NX2 are Accident Compensation Corporation & Public Infrastructure Partners II LP (managed by Morrison & Co PIP Limited), ACCIONA Concessions and Fletcher Building. The design and construction activities will be carried out by a joint-venture between ACCIONA Infrastructure and Fletcher Construction, while the management and maintenance will be performed by a joint-venture between ACCIONA Concessions and Higgins. Macquarie Capital (NZ) Limited was the commercial and financial adviser to NX2.

This is ACCIONA’s first contract in New Zealand, although the company already has a significant presence in Australasia thanks to its extensive experience in Australia since 2002, which has become a platform for access to the markets of Southeast Asia.

In Australia ACCIONA is now a leading firm in the sector after being selected for some of the country’s largest infrastructure projects tendered in recent years and which have received numerous awards.

ACCIONA Concessions is part of the Nexus Infrastructure consortium that in August 2015 was awarded the contract to design, construct, operate and maintain the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing (TSRC) in Queensland. This PPP project is worth AU$1.6 billion and recently received an award from the prestigious publication IJGlobal, as one of the most outstanding infrastructure financing initiatives in the world.

The magazine Project Finance International also recently recognised the Toowoomba highway project as the most outstanding initiative in the Asia-Pacific region, and the Sydney Light Rail project as the best public-private initiative in the region. The Legacy Way tunnels in Brisbane, which are already in operation, have also received numerous awards.