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The Roads to Success

In 2024, Invesis’ experience and expertise in ‘roads’ projects comes of age – in April it was 21 years since financial close on the A59 – the Netherlands’ and Invesis’ first public-private partnership (PPP) contract for highway infrastructure.

The €131m scheme set an impressive precedent, winning the European Construction Project of the Year Award in 2006 partly thanks to its costs sitting 14% lower than the costs of a traditional design and build contracting process.

A59, The Netherlands

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But the statistics don’t tell the whole story. These are projects delivered and maintained in an environment of complex and detailed regulatory requirements, stringent safety priorities and a rapidly evolving landscape of environmental and social responsibilities.

“safety is at the core of our roads projects and we work very much to standards provided by our client which are based on thorough analysis of ongoing road use”.

Yvonne Jones, Invesis Asset Management Director, Ireland puts it simply; “Safety is at the core of our roads projects and we work very much to standards provided by our client which are based on thorough analysis of ongoing road use.” Those standards are enhanced by the depth of experience Invesis has across its roads projects.

In Germany, for example, it has a permanent team dedicated to the lifecycle management and refresh of the asset base. This starts at the outset of the project and throughout the construction phase a permanent quality monitoring regime is established from which the team developed tools to minimise road closures caused by maintenance and operational works.

Availability model – A10/A24 Neuruppin to AD Pankow,
Near Berlin, Germany

Frequent lessons learnt sessions are undertaken so that knowledge transfer between projects is maximised and available for the next bid.

There is, though, still room for innovation in this sector, even if some of it is subject to a rigorous testing regime. In Germany, for example, Invesis applied building information modelling (BIM) to a five-kilometre section of the A10/A24 project – the first use of BIM in a German roads PPP.

Since opening in December 2022, this €650m design, build, finance, maintain and operate contract (comprising widening of the A10 and reconstruction of the A24 with over 80 bridges of varying sizes), has been carefully monitored to track how the BIM section performs in comparison to the roads around it.

The value of this work was recognised by the prestigious Solid BautechPreis Awards in 2021 where the A10/A24 was a winner in the Digital & BIM category.

Meanwhile in the UK, the £1.1bn Silvertown Tunnel project, currently in the construction phase, is demanding cutting-edge engineering solutions. This project, in partnership with Transport for London (TfL), will be the first new vehicle crossing under the River Thames for many decades and includes a twin-lane 1.4km tunnel which is being formed by the largest diameter boring machine deployed in the UK. Parts of the machine were placed on ‘nitrogen skates’ in a complex and state of the art process to rotate the machine before it began its journey to bore the northbound tunnel section.

Silvertown Tunnel, London, UK

The Silvertown Tunnel project also showcases the sustainability goals that Invesis strives for in its projects. Air quality is being prioritised during the build. The river, rather than roads, are being used for transporting materials where possible, and all on-site construction machinery must meet the relevant Low and Ultra Low Emission Zone standards. Since Invesis invests for the long term, it is also in a position to drive ecologically-friendly standards and initiatives for the entire concession period.

This long-term engagement incentivises Invesis to get it right at the design and build stage with a focus on the development of whole life solutions to maximise the continuous availability that important road links need.

A8 Motorway, State of Bavaria, Germany

The sustainability mindset that is a key driver of Invesis’ approach is also evident in a variety of small ways where our teams take advantage of opportunities to contribute positively to the environment. For example, on the A8 motorway in Germany smart led lighting systems have been installed and cows are used for maintaining grassed landscape areas instead of fossil fuel-powered mechanical mowers.

Meanwhile, on the €116m M1 Dundalk Western Bypass in Ireland beehives have been introduced to improve pollination and therefore biodiversity.

There are, of course, financial as well as environmental considerations for these improvements and Invesis has founded a steering group in which green propositions are discussed with the other project stakeholders. The aim is to drive them forward, particularly where the net financial cost is zero or close to zero.

M1 Dundalk Western Bypass, Ireland
A94 Forstinning-Marktl Motorway, Bavaria

Beyond safety and sustainability, Invesis has also taken opportunities to deliver social and economic benefits to local communities through its investments in roads PPPs. The Silvertown Tunnel project, for example, includes the recruitment and training of more than 100 apprentices during the construction phase, and the A94 project in Germany is participating in training fairs and running student internships that will produce more of the skilled professionals needed for the highway projects of the future.

Invesis remains actively involved in both bidding for new projects and the operations and maintenance of its current concessions and as a global investor developer, it has access to the relationships with financing partners and the support of its sizeable and influential shareholders that allow it to apply inventive funding models. The pipeline Invesis is tracking matches its global presence, and mirrors the company’s international experience and expertise in this market including in the US, Australia and Central/Eastern Europe where it is investigating current and upcoming opportunities.

Our contributors:

From Left to Right: Hans Wilhelm Juncker, Asset Management Director, Germany. Yvonne Jones, Asset Management Director, Ireland, and Bill Harkins, Business Development Director, UK and Ireland.
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