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Leighton Abigroup to build Brisbane's Gateway Bridge


Leighton Abigroup joint venture has picked up the juicy $1.88bn Gateway Bridge duplication and motorway upgrade project, the major traffic artery linking Brisbane with the Sunshine and Gold Coasts in Queensland's rampant south east corner.

The project will be staged, with the duplication of the 6-lane bridge starting at the end of the year, and upgrading of the 20km of the motorway on either side of the bridge in sections, which will open when each iscompleted. The early motorway works program, already started, should finish in the middle and at the end of 2007, with larger works to be complete late 2009. The concrete piled and arched bridge will be complete by late 2010, when the existing bridge will be refurbished.

The 30-year toll bridge, with one bridge dedicated to southbound and the other to northbound traffic, will be delivered by Queensland Motorways Limited in its contract with the joint venture, which includes a 10-year bridge maintenance work schedule.

Leighton and Abigroup worked together in a joint venture on Sydney's WestLink M7 motorway completed last year and currently individually have their books full with infrastructure projects.

Abigroup has five Pacific Highway upgrade projects on the go including the $530m Tugun Bypass Queensland/NSW border crossing and further south the Brunswick Heads to Yelgun project, with its Australia wide total amounting to more than $2bn.

In Brisbane, Leighton is in a consortium to build the mega Brisbane city north/south tunnel and the Inner Northern Busway tunnel beneath King George Square.

Both companies are majority owned by big German-based contractors: Leighton 51% by Hotchief and Abigroup was sold to Bilfinger Berger Ag in 2004.

If bankrolling projects is easy, finding subcontractors to carry out the work in Queensland's building boom may send both companies looking abroad or certainly interstate

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