Major Contract

North East Link – Primary Package – Tunnel PPP

North East Link – Primary Package – Tunnel PPP

The proposed North East Link project will connect the Metropolitan ring road (M80) and Eastern Freeway (M3) completing a ring road around Melbourne which includes the Monash Freeway (M1).

The Primary Package of the project comprises construction of twin three-lane tunnels, 6.5 kilometres in length, passing under Banyule Flats and the Yarra River, as well as provision of tunnel systems, intelligent transport systems, tolling infrastructure, a new 'green bridge', parklands and wetlands, noise walls, 34 kilometres of walking and cycling paths and associated infrastructure.

Originally, the package was also proposed to include construction of seven kilometres of freeway and new interchanges, but much of this additional scope was moved to secondary packages in November 2020.


Key Dates

2021 Preferred Bidder Selection
Oct 2021 Contract Award
2024 Expected Construction Commencement


Procuring Agency: North East Link Project (NELP)
Shortlist: OneLink, comprising CPB Contractors, Samsung C&T, Egis Road Operations, UGL Engineering, Pacific Partnerships, and DIF Management Australia. Spark, comprising Salini Impregilo, GS Engineering and Construction, China Construction, Broadspectrum, Capella Capital, John Laing, and advisers Lendlease Engineering ViaNova, comprising John Holland, ACCIONA Construction, Lendlease Services, Plenary Group, and ACCIONA Concesiones
Successful Tenderer: Spark, comprising WeBuild, GS Engineering and Construction, CPB Contractors, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing, DIF and Pacific Partnerships
Adviser (Govt): Transaction Adviser - Flagstaff Consulting, Infrastructure Advisory Group, MBB Group Commercial and Financial Advisor - EY Legal Adviser - Clayton Utz Technical Adviser - GHD Strategic Technical Adviser - Smedley Technical & Strategic STC Advisers - PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rothschild & Co, Acton Advisory, Clayton Utz Cost Advisers - Systech Traffic Modelling Services Adviser - Veitch Lister Consulting Probity Adviser - RSM Australia Probity Auditor - Pitcher Partners Consulting
Adviser (Tenderer): Allens Seed Engineering
Related contracts:
Successful Tenderer - A Joint Venture of Mott Macdonald and SMEC

Design and Engineering Services
Successful Tenderer - Arcadis WSP Joint Venture


May 2018 The 2018-19 Victorian Budget announced that the main tunnel component of the project would be procured through an availability public private partnership (PPP).
Sep 2018 Registrations of Interest (ROIs) for market engagement on the PPP were opened.
Nov 2018 The Victorian Government called for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for the PPP package. EOIs were due by 10 May 2019.
Sep 2019 The Victorian Government shortlisted three consortia for the project - OneLink, Spark and ViaNova.
Mar 2020 The Victorian Government announced that a state-owned tolling company would be created to fix and collect tolls for the North East Link. Tolls will be applied to the primary package section of the road. The new company will use revenue from tolls to recover some of the construction costs and also fund future maintenance.
Nov 2020 The Victorian Government amended the procurement approach embedding an Incentivised Target Cost risk and reward regime. Changes to project scope and risk transfer were also made, with a refocusing of the package on the tunnelling components. The Victorian Government cited changes in market dynamics under COVID-19, recent feedback from industry engagement and the desire to strengthen collaboration and partnership during delivery as key reasons for the change in the procurement approach.
Jun 2021 The Victorian Government announced the preferred bidder for the North East Link – Primary Package as Spark, a consortium comprising WeBuild, GS Engineering and Construction, CPB Contractors, China Construction Oceania, Ventia, Capella Capital, John Laing, DIF and Pacific Partnerships.
Oct 2021 The Victorian Government formally awarded the Spark consortium the contract to deliver the Primary Package. The Government also announced a number of scope changes, including extending the tunnels by 1.9 kilometres, as well as the delivery of new ‘green bridges’, parklands and wetlands, and 34 kilometres of walking and cycling paths. Following the changes to scope and contract through procurement, the total cost of the contract was also confirmed as $11.1 billion, up from a previous estimate of $7 billion to $9 billion before procurement.
Nov 2021 A Joint Venture of Mott Macdonald and SMEC were awarded the project's design contract after submitting designs to the Spark Consortium. The design included a longer tunnel to Watsonia, a new tree-lined boulevard for Greensborough Road and new and reconnected parklands.
Dec 2021 The Victorian Government released the Primary Package (Tunnels) Project Summary.
Apr 2022 The Spark consortium awarded a Joint Venture of Arcadis and WSP a design and engineering support services contract. The scope of work includes design and engineering for civil structures, bridges, viaducts, cut and cover tunnels, noise walls and flood walls. The Joint Venture will provide design services over the next two years, and then provide engineering support services until the end of 2026.
May 2024 The Victorian Budget confirmed the cost to be $14.03 billion. This includes the $11.1 billion contract with the Spark consortium to deliver the Primary Package and other costs associated with the operations of the State Tolling Corporation. The project includes a share of $1.750 billion of Federal Government funding. The TEI excludes financing costs associated with the Primary Package.
Estimated Total Cost
Procurement approach
Confirmed PPP |
Victoria | National |