The French government and Atlandes, a company comprising Colas Sud-Ouest(1), Screg Sud-Ouest(1), Spie batignolles, NGE, Egis Projects(2), HSBC European Motorway Investments 1(3) and DIF Infrastructure II, signed a concession contract involving the financing, design, development, widening, maintenance and operation of a section of Highway A63 between the towns of Salles and Saint-Geours-de-Maremne in southwest France.
The 40-year concession contract came into effect on January 24, 2011.
Atlandes' financing, which will total roughly 1.1 billion euros, includes 200 million euros in shareholders' equity and nearly 900 million euros in credit from a pool of 10 European banks. The amount also comprises an initial entrance fee of 400 million euros, which corresponds to the transfer of existing infrastructure.
Atlandes will be in charge of project management. The 500-million-euro development phase involves the upgrading of former National Route RN 10 to current environmental and highway standards and the widening of the 105-km section to 6 lanes, in view to improve user safety and service. The work will be performed in a 41-month timeframe by a consortium including Colas Sud-Ouest and Screg Sud-Ouest, Valérian (subsidiary of Spie batignolles) and NGE. Egis Exploitation Aquitaine, a subsidiary of Egis Road Operation(2), will maintain and operate the concession and will take on the Government employees who currently work on the section.
An open toll system will enable local traffic to use the highway section free of charge. Tolls for heavy vehicle traffic will be tailored based on emission levels to ensure that the most environmentally-friendly heavy goods vehicles pay less. Atlandes will be the first concession company ever in France to implement this type of modulating toll policy.
Tolls will be charged, at reduced rates, as of October 2013, following the completion of the first phase of work. Full rates will be applied when the entire section is opened to traffic, slated for July 2014.
The upstream preliminary studies carried out prior to the effective date of contract, notably regarding environmental protection in light of commitments made by the French government and targets set at the Grenelle Environmental Roundtables, will make it possible to launch work as early as the fall of 2011.
(1) subsidiary of Colas
(2) subsidiary of Egis
(3) company managed by Infrastructure investment team at HSBC
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