Receivers appointed to embattled Australian toll road group BrisConnections are suing engineering consulting firm Arup over the Brisbane airport link arguing that they produced misleading traffic forecasts.
The Airport Link is a tunnelled, motorway grade, toll road in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, Queensland. It connects the Brisbane central business district and the Clem Jones Tunnel to the East-West Arterial Road which leads to theBrisbane Airport.
The claim has been launched in the Federal Court in Sydney. The legal action, reportedly over allegations of misleading forecasts for traffic volumes, has similarities to another lawsuit, launched in relation to the collapsed Rivercity group. Aecom were sued over their traffic projections for Rivercity.
In February 2013 we published that Brisbane toll road operator BrisConnections falled into receivership after a syndicate of lenders rejected a restructure plan for the company.
Traffic through the road is tracking at about 50,000 cars per day, well below the 130,000 forecast, and the company is holding on to about $3 billion in debt. The road opened in July 2012. Problems first appeared in 2010 when Leighton warned of higher than expected costs. In November 2012 Leighton Holdings wrote down its investment in the road, although Macquarie Bank increased its investment to 46% of the equity.
Problems in Australian private motorways sector are now a constant. Two years ago, the Clem7 road run by RiverCity was placed in receivership, while the Cross City Tunnel and Lane Cove Tunnel were also placed in receivership in 2006 and 2010 respectively.