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US firms swoop on Crossrail jobs

Bids from two American firms have emerged as the favourites to oversee work on Crossrail and its central tunnelling section.

Sources close to the project said that Bechtel and Legacy 3 – a joint venture between Parsons Brinckerhoff, Balfour Beatty and Davis Langdon – are set to take the programme and project delivery partner roles.

Construction News understands that initially Bechtel was chosen as the winner for both jobs, but that Crossrail wants two separate firms in the roles.

At last week’s Transport for London board meeting, Crossrail executive chairman Doug Oakervee said no decisions had been made on who would win which job.

But a source close to the project said: “Bechtel are favourites to win the project delivery partner role. They have more experience than any of the Legacy 3 partners in delivering major projects, having delivered the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.”

A final decision is expected in March. The £100 million programme partner role will work alongside Crossrail to manage the overall project and all parties involved.

Stage two tenders were returned in December 2008 by three bidders Bechtel, Legacy 3 and Transcend.

Transcend, a joint venture between Aecom, CH2M Hill and Nichols Group, is tipped to have lost out.

The £400 million contract for the project delivery partner role will oversee work on the 21 km of twin-bored tunnels that will run from Paddington in the west through to Stratford and Custom House in the east.

Missing out on the work is an all-British bid of Laing O’Rourke and Atkins, as well as a joint venture between Capita Symonds and Northcroft.

The winner will look after three sections of tunnelling work, including the part of the tunnel under the River Thames.

Most boring will occur in London clay, from where tunnelling begins just west of Paddington.

After that digging will take place through a combination of clay, Lambeth beds and Thanet sands, finally hitting chalk under the river.

In east London the tunnel branches into two, with the northern branch of Crossrail emerging at Pudding Mill Lane, just before Stratford.

The southern branch emerges above ground between the Victoria Dock Portal and the North Woolwich Portal, just after Custom House station on the Docklands Light Railway. It goes underground again to run beneath the Thames and emerges for the last time at the Plumstead Portal before terminating at Abbey Wood.

Tunnel driving will start both from the west of Paddington station at the Royal Oak Portal, and from the east from both northern and southern branches. The central TBMs will meet at Farringdon station.