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Arup settles £1.3bn traffic forecast lawsuit


Arup has settled an estimated A$2.2bn (£1.3bn) lawsuit over traffic forecasting for Australia’s Brisbane Airport Link Tunnel.

The Australian branch of the engineering firm would not comment on the details of the settlement, which are confidential. However, media reports suggest the company paid more than A$100M (£57.9M).

It was sued by PPB Advisory, the receivers for project operator Brisconnections (made up of contractors Thiess and John Holland with Macquarie Group), in 2014 after the 6.7km Airport Link went into receivership seven months after opening in July 2012. Only a quarter of the traffic predicted in Arup’s forecasts used the road. 

Arup’s then lead traffic forecaster Gerard Cavanagh was questioned when the case went to court in October last year, according to Australian media reports. When quizzed by lawyers, Cavanagh agreed that aspects of the model used to forecast the traffic in this case were “totally and utterly absurd”, the Australian Financial Review reported. 

An Arup spokeswoman said: “We are pleased to have reached a settlement on the Brisconnections case. The terms of the settlement are confidential so unfortunately we cannot comment on any of the details. However, we are pleased to be able to close the book on what has been a protracted legal process.

“The parties involved have agreed that this concludes the matter and we will make no further comment on the details of the settlement. In the meantime, Arup looks forward to continuing to deliver excellent work for our clients in Australia and around the globe.”

The Airport Link was bought by Transurban for £1.1bn in 2015, which is almost 60% less than the cost of construction. 

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