VINCI Concessions has announced that Société Prado Sud, a consortium composed of VINCI SA (5%), VINCI Concessions (53,5%) and EIFFAGE (41,5%) opened to traffic the Prado Sud tunnel in Marseille on November 16, 2013.
The project, initiated by the Marseille Metropolitan Area authority (Communauté Urbaine Marseille Provence Métropole), involved the financing, design, construction and now the operation of the Prado Sud tunnel, through a concession contract.
This public service management contract entered by the Marseille Metropolitan Area and Société Prado Sud came into effect in 2008 for a period of 47 years, including the period of project design and construction. VINCI Concessions had announced it had emerged as winner for the contract inFebruary 2008.
Christophe Pelissié du Rausas, Executive Vice President of VINCI Concessions in charge of Client-side Project Management, said:
"This Public-Private Partnership initiated by the Marseille Metropolitan Area authority is a perfect illustration of the value of this type of contract, which delivers to the community, in a short time span, a facility combining safety, quality of service and comfort. The opening of the Prado Sud tunnel seven months ahead of schedule was made possible by innovations in the areas of design and construction and by the analysis of long-term operational challenges as a private-sector player working in the public interest."
Prior to the start of the contract, the estimated total investment amount was €193 million, of which €146 million were to be devoted to the studies and works stages. Financing will be through a toll paid by customers to the Prado Sud company, which is be the concession-holder.
In October 2008, the consortium completed financial close for the project. It borrowed €189 million from a "bank club deal", of which €152 million was senior debt with a maturity of 10 years. An equity contribution from the shareholders of the concession-holder company of €27 million and a subsidy of €10 million from the Marseilles Provence Métropole Urban Community completed the financing of this project without recourse against the shareholders.
The 1,500 meter tunnel is connected to the Prado Carénage tunnel and the A50 highway to the North and to the Boulevard Michelet and the Prado 2 avenue to the South. It helps open up Marseille's previously hard-to-access southern neighbourhoods.
In line with the Marseille Metropolitan Area's Urban Transportation Plan (Plan de déplacement urbain), its opening reduces surface car traffic and frees up space for pedestrians, cycle paths and public transportation.