$18 billion for 32 kilometres of road? Sydney’s F6 freeway costs leaked
The Final Business Case (FBC) document for Sydney’s F6 freeway, also called SouthLink, has been leaked, revealing just how expensive the construction and maintenance of the project will be.
According to ABC News, which viewed the documents, the total price could come to $18 billion, more than half a billion dollars per kilometre of highway. The road will stretch from St Peters through to Waterfall and comprises four stages of construction.
Interestingly, it is costed at $1 billion more than WestConnex, which is around 33 kilometres in length.
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What makes this project so expensive is the preferred option of two separate tunnels between Heathcote and Waterfall. Construction costs alone are expected to be $14.5 billion, with another $3.5 billion set aside for 35 years of maintenance.
An alternative option would be to build a rail tunnel from Thirroul to Waterfall, a project which ABC revealed would cost $3.6 billion, cutting journey times to Sydney by 24 minutes at a fraction of the price of F6.
However, there are contesting views on the viability of the rail option. New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance said it was not feasible, while local Labor Wollongong MP Ryan Park is backing the plan.
Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said no final decision has been made on the cost of the F6 road.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.