WestConnex adviser ‘engineered’ numbers

However, Parsons Brinckerhoff dropped the estimates for outside peak hours after they helped contribute to an initial prediction that only 57,686 motorists a day would use the tunnel - a number ultimately pretty close to the mark. “[They] quite frankly didn’t like the answer,” Mr Bannon said of the decision to drop the outside peak hour estimates.

In the opening day of a trial that is anticipated to run for 10 weeks, Justice Michael Pembroke heard that Parsons Brinckerhoff “reverse engineered” traffic forecasts for the Lane Cove Tunnel to fit the needs of the consortium that hired it.

It did this by excluding, from its forecasts, estimates of how many motorists would use the tunnel outside peak hour, AMP‘s barrister Tony Bannon said. “You are saying they worked backwards from their commercial objectives,” Justice Pembroke asked Mr Bannon. “Yes,” Mr Bannon replied.

In the case of the Lane Cove Tunnel, which opened in 2007 with about a third of the predicted traffic volumes, the Supreme Court heard one suggested answer on Monday: forecasters come up with traffic figures based on their business needs, not what happens on the road.

Parsons Brinckerhoff also used the Sydney Harbour bridge and Sydney Harbour tunnel as comparators to help estimate the willingness for motorists to pay a toll on the Lane Cove Tunnel.

AMP Capital Investors, the manager of two funds that lost when the tunnel went into receivership within three years of opening, is suing Parsons Brinckerhoff and Booz Allen Hamilton, both of which have since won numerous lucrative contracts from the state government.

Read more here: SMH


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