Crossrail has said that its two main tunnelling packages will not be awarded until early 2011 but this will not affect start dates for construction of the tunnels on the £15.9 billion project.
When the five-strong shortlists for the two tunnel contracts - C300 and C305 – was announced last December it said it had expected to award them by mid-2010.
A Crossrail spokeswoman explained that the orginal award dates were only “indicative” and had been realistic when the contract notices were first published last August in the Official Journal of the European Union.
She added that this extension to the procurement period would not affect the construction schedule, which earmarks 2011 as the year tunnelling will begin.
The five teams invited to tender for the two jobs are Balfour Beatty/Vinci/Morgan Sindall/Beton- und Monierbau, Costain/Skanska/Bilfinger Berger, Laing O’Rourke/Bouygues, Kier/Ferrovial/Bam Nuttall and Sisk/Dragados.
In total the two packages cover the construction of 18km of the 21km of twin bore tunnels that will run beneath central London as part of the Crossrail project.