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24Feb94 REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: CORK SENDS OUT TENDERS AT LAST FOR £80M RIVER TUNNEL.

Three months later than planned, Cork Corporation has now sent out tender documents to the four consortia which prequalified for the £80 million design and build river tunnel project in the Irish Republic.One of the consortia has MF Kent in its line-up - the company is part of the Kentz Corporation which has now collapsed through financial problems and is in examinership.But industry sources claim the problems at Kentz should not affect the consortium's bid in any way.They have said it is possible to go ahead with pricing the job without a recognised mechanical and electrical contractor on board - in fact at least one of the other contenders intends to bid without one.And in any event, a rescue package for MF Kent has not been ruled out.Work on the tunnel is now likely to start by late summer for 42 months.The immersed tube method will be used on the tunnel. It has been used on the A55 Conwy crossing scheme in Wales and is also being employed for the river Medway crossing in Kent.It involves lowering prefabricated tunnel sections into trenches dredged in the river bed.The Cork scheme includes the construction of 460m-long twin four-lane tunnels under the river Lee to link the east and west of Cork city.The four groups in the hunt for the scheme are:- Ballast Nedam and Volker Stevin (Both Dutch)/MF Kent/Siac (Ireland)/WS Atkins/ESB International.- Tarmac/PJ Walls (Ireland)/Mott MacDonald.- Kier/Christiani and Nielsen/John Sisk (Ireland)/Corma Engineering (Denmark)/EG Pettitt (Ireland)/Maunsell.- Hollandsche Beton Groep (Holland)/Ascon and MCO'Sullivan (both Irish). CONSTRUCTION NEWS