SIAC in prime position to build Tara motorway
Arthur Beesley, Senior Business Correspondent
Wed, Aug 10, 05
A consortium involving Spanish construction firm Cintra and the Irish group SIAC is now in prime position to build the €600 million M3 motorway between Clonee and Kells, the controversial project that runs through the Tara archaeological complex.
While the route chosen by the National Roads Authority will be the subject of judicial review hearings before the High Court in October, the Eurolink consortium formed by the two companies has emerged in first place from the initial phase of the tender process.
Their success in this competition marks a second coup for the group, which is already building the multimillion euro Kilcock-Kinnegad motorway. The M3 contract will be by far the largest public-private partnership initiative undertaken to date. The 110 km project includes almost 50 km of motorway.
The consortium will be expected to fund the building of the roadway and maintain and operate it for 45 years. While the terms of the Eurolink tender were not available last night, the consortium will receive tolls on the road and a State subsidy.
Eurolink is understood to have beaten off a rival tender from the Celtic Roads group. Its members include National Toll Roads, owner of the East Link and West Link bridges, the Ascon building group and Spanish construction giant Dragados.
"We have formally advised Eurolink that the company has been identified as the tenderer with the most economically advantageous tender for the M3 Clonee-Kells project," said a spokesman for the National Roads Authority.
"The authority will now proceed with discussions with Eurolink with a view to appointing the company as provisional preferred tenderer, which potentially will lead to the award of the contract for the project."
SIAC is understood to be raising its stake in Eurolink to 25 per cent for the M3 initiative.
Two court actions may have a bearing on the eventual route of the motorway.
The first of these is a judicial review action taken by conservationist Vincent Salafia, who is calling into question directions made by Minister for the Environment Dick Roche on the treatment of archaeological sites on the route.
Mr Salafia wants to test the constitutionality of Mr Roche's decisions under the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 2004.
He claims it is not necessary for the motorway to breach the Tara complex and says an alternative route between Navan and Dunshaughlin offers an alternative because it is shorter and would not breach the complex.
A forthcoming Supreme Court judgment in a case testing the
constitutionality of the 2004 Act in the context of the Carrickmines stretch of M50 motorway may have a bearing on this case. In a judgment that was challenged on a point of law, the High Court previously upheld the constitutionality of the Act in this case.
See: Hill of Tara / M3 litigation site- http://www.hilloftara.info
Posted by otuathail3
8th November 2005ce