Five teams are in the running for the first two major Crossrail tunnelling jobs, estimated to be worth more than £1.5 billion.
Crossrail bosses confirmed that five pre-qualification questionnaires had been submitted by last week’s deadline for the C300 and C305 packages – 6.2 km and 11.9 km tunnels respectively.
Balfour Beatty, Beton-und Monierbau, Morgan Est and Vinci Construction Grands Projets have come together as BBMV.
Skanska has teamed up with Costain and Bilfinger Berger, while Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues formed a joint bid. Kier, Bam Nuttall and Ferrovial have also teamed up, with the fifth bidder understood to be a Murphy and Hochtief joint venture.
All five consortiums expressed an interest in both packages but have been asked to confirm their preference.
Crossrail would not confirm how much each package was worth until formal tenders had been submitted, but experts estimate the combined value to be between £1.5bn and £1.75bn.
A Crossrail spokeswoman said shortlists for the two lots would be announced in late November at the earliest. Contract awards are expected in mid-2010.
The C300 package covers the construction of the 6.2 km stretch of tunnels from Royal Oak Portal, west of Paddington Station, through to the new Crossrail Farringdon Station in the City of London.
Work to be carried out during the 58-month job also includes the construction of a shaft at Fisher Street. The construction of the Royal Oak Portal will be let separately.
The 66-month C305 covers the construction of an 8.3 km tunnel section from a launch chamber at Limmo Peninsular through to the new Farringdon Station, as well as 2.7 km of tunnel from a launch chamber at Stepney Green to the Pudding Mill Lane Portal.
A 0.9 km section from the launch chamber at Limmo Peninsular through to the Victoria Dock Portal is also required.
An OJEU notice inviting expressions of interest in the third major tunnelling package, C310, was expected in September.
But this has been delayed due to negotiations with Berkeley Homes, which is expected to fund the construction of the Woolwich Station box.
C310 covers the tunnel under the river Thames from the Royal Docks to south-east London via the Woolwich Station box.
Main construction for the £16bn Crossrail project – featuring 21 km of twin 6.2 m internal diameter bored tunnels – is scheduled to begin next year with the first boring machine launching in late 2011.
Last week Crossrail invited bids for tunnelling work at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road underground stations in central London. Each station package is valued at around £100 million.