A63 Motorway

Upgrade and expansion of road link in France


The A63 motorway project in South West France was focused on the upgrade and widening of a 105km stretch of road between Salles (Gironde) and St-Geours de Maremne (Landes) from two to three lanes.

The project also involved the construction of two cross-lane toll barriers plus parking facilities for 1,200 heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).


Parking facility for 1,200 HGVs

Road roundabout

The backdrop

This was a highly complex and high profile European PPP project. The Atlandes consortium asked us to bring our experience of leading projects and our in-depth understanding of traffic revenue forecasting early on in the development phase, helping to underpin the viability and success of the project. 

The challenges

With safety a key issue, the expansion included a dedicated light vehicle lane not open to HGVs. Parking spaces for over one thousand HGVs, meanwhile, has provided drivers with a secure place to rest. The number of accidents along the route has significantly declined since the upgrade.

The environmental aspect was also a major focus. To protect local wildlife, we constructed bridges that help animals such as deer to cross the motorway, while both the local habitat and wildlife population are constantly monitored.

To prevent fires in the pine forests which border the motorway, an innovative awareness campaign incorporating motorway radio, flyers in service stations, non-flammable ash trays and billboards on the backs of trucks was undertaken, to highlight actions drivers could take to avoid fires occurring.

The world’s first solar motorway trial saw skid-resistant solar panels installed along a stretch of the road, generating sufficient energy to power the Saugnacq-et-Muret toll plaza.

Creating real value

The construction of the A63 motorway project was successfully completed in November 2013, a remarkable seven months ahead of schedule.

Cutting journey times between the greater Bordeaux region and the Basque coast, the new A63 makes the transfer of goods between Europe and the Iberian Peninsula more efficient, contributing to lower emissions.

The project was eligible for EU funding, while the construction and operation of a toll system will generate revenue throughout a 40-year concession. This is underpinned by an innovative financing structure that has seen a tranche of long-term debt injected by both the European Investment Bank and commercial lenders.

In June 2015, the project was successfully refinanced on a long term basis, with no residual refinancing risk and at very attractive conditions.

“On a complex project like this, it really helps to work with partners that get the big picture, as well as scrutinising the detail. InfraRed’s straightforward approach and hands-on involvement meant we were able to work very well as a team to successfully deliver this project.” Patrice Dessiaume
Former senior bid director at Colas and General Manager of Atlandes SA

At a glance

Country France
Sector Transportation
Project Capital Cost c.US$1.4bn
Investment Date 2011
Status Realised in 2016
Asset Overview Upgrade of an existing c.100km secondary road linking Salles (Gironde) and St-Geours de Maremne (Landes)