Bechtel will face stiff competition for the role of project delivery partner for London’s £16 billion Crossrail project.
The US firm, which has been working with Cross London Rail Links in the role of development manager since the end of 2005 to produce a reference design for the project, has been tipped as the favourite for the job.
But competition is rife, with Parsons Brinckerhoff, Arup, Balfour Beatty and Thames Tideway project manager C2MHill all set to bid for the work.
One potential bidder said: “We wouldn’t be going for it if we didn’t think we’d have a chance of winning the job. We’ll certainly be giving Bechtel a run for their money.”
All teams currently involved in Crossrail, including Bechtel and design consultant Scott Wilson, have signed an agreement with Transport for London and the Department for Transport stating that their existing project teams cannot bid for future Crossrail work.
A Crossrail spokesman said: “We have also put strict measures in place for current partners and contractors to follow, to ensure fairness, confidentiality, and a level playing field for all those who may be involved in the process during any future procurement.”
A number of other firms, including Mace, looked at the job before deciding to end their interest.
One firm admitted: “The feeling is that Bechtel will win it because they didn’t win the Olympics or Tideway Tunnel.
“All the arrows are pointing to Bechtel winning.”
Crossrail has confirmed that a notice is due in the OJEU for the job in the next two weeks.
Outside the central tunnel section, Network Rail is set to start work on station upgrades in early 2009.
Work on the Pudding Mill Lane and Plumstead portals in the east and at Paddington station in the west will be the first to start.
The complex Stockley Flyover to the west of London, which includes a 1.5 km single-track viaduct that splits into two ramps, is scheduled to start later in the year.
In total, nine stations, including Romford, Ilford and Abbey Wood - all in the east - will see major rebuilds, with a further 10 revamped and 18 more getting longer platforms.
Work on these stations is not scheduled to start until the end of 2010.