WORK ON the Brisbane north-south bypass tunnel (NSBT) project is finally getting underway after more than two years of planning, with Clayton Utz acting for the Brisbane City Council for the entirety of the tender phase for the $2 billion project.
The 4.8 kilometre tunnel will become a vital part of Brisbane’s infrastructure, forming a direct link beneath the CBD.
The transaction is the first time a local authority has worked in partnership with the private sector in Australia.
Clayton Utz was lead by the head of the firm’s projects practice, Doug Jones AM, and Brisbane projects partner Alan Maguire.
“[The deal] involved a fair level of innovation. It was a first for a council [and] we had to have a high level of interaction with the State government in relation to the legislative change that was necessary to accommodate the project,” Maguire said.
The contractual arrangements required unique features which saved time and locked the bidder into the deal before the change process period began, Maguire said.
“What was introduced was some legislation which allowed a ‘change process’ to occur, where you could modify your Environmental Impact Statement [during] the period between contract close and financial close, which had not been done before,” Maguire said.
Effort was taken to avoid the Sydney Cross City Tunnel debacle, which arose in the middle of the tender process.
“With NSBT, the thinking had moved on in terms of some of the problems … such as the road closures. They don’t exist in relation to NSBT.”