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Procurement on New Wear Bridge to restart in 2014

Sunderland City Council has insisted it will restart procurement of the £118m New Wear Bridge project in 2014, more than six months after previous plans were scrapped.

Sunderland City Council told Construction News it was working on a new procurement process “to begin in 2014” with the Department for Transport.

The project suffered delays in summer after the remaining bidders, Graham and Vinci, were unable to bid for the scheme within the £118m budget.

The council added that the procurement process had to be brought to an end “on the basis of unaffordability” but has insisted that a new procurement would begin in the new year.

A set timetable has yet to be finalised.

The DfT had committed £82.6m to the scheme’s total cost of £118m, with Sunderland council contributing £31.9m and former regional development agency One North East delivering the remaining £3.5m.

Despite support from the council and architects, critics had knocked the previous design for the bridge.

Earlier this year, the council told Construction News the old design had been “rigorously designed, costed, admired and backed within the industry and profession”.

However, a spokeswoman for the council said proposals were being developed “to take forward a simplified cable-stayed design that will sit in the same footprint as the earlier design”.

The council also updated Construction News on last month’s decision to choose Carillion as preferred bidder to lead a £800m regeneration joint venture in Sunderland.

Igloo Regeneration will join the JV and provide development and asset management services for the projects.

Carillion beat two other bidders to the deal – Langtree Land and Property; and a consortium including Barratt Developments, BNP Paribas, Calmont Project Services, Kier Construction and Ramboll.

Councillor and leader of Sunderland council Paul Watson said it had been a “difficult task to choose the preferred bidder, but the commitment, track record and approach of the chosen consortium gave it the winning edge”.

The regeneration will include a range of projects that will be determined by the board of the joint venture and will be worth at least £100m over the first eight years of the scheme and potentially £800m over 20 years.

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