The Department for Transport has put back the decision on Transport for London’s £1bn Silvertown Tunnel in east London.
In a written statement, the DfT announced that a decision on the tunnel had been put back to May 2018 to take into account the effect on air quality in the area close to the tunnel.
The statement by MP Paul Maynard said: “The deadline for the decision is to be extended to 10 May 2018 to enable further consideration of the effect of the scheme on air quality (including its compliance with the updated UK plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations published by government on 26 July 2017).”
Hochtief, Ferrovial-owned Cintra Global and a joint venture of Skanska and Strabag are in the running to construct the road tunnel.
The construction of the project will be privately financed through the design, finance, build and maintain contract, with the winner receiving regular payments from Transport for London once the tunnel is opened.
Earlier this year TfL said that a winner would be chosen by the autumn following a planning process that began in October 2016.
If approved by the DfT, construction of the twin-bore road tunnel between Silvertown and Greenwich Peninsular is expected to begin in 2019 and could open by 2023.
As part of the tender, firms are required to identify a number of measures to lessen construction impact and help the local community, including reducing road use by construction vehicles, developing a community engagement plan and creating 150 local apprenticeships.
Speaking earlier this year TfL managing director for surface transport Leon Daniels said: “It’s great to see such a strong shortlist of bidders to design, finance, build, and maintain the new Silvertown Tunnel.
“The tunnel will be essential to help tackle congestion and reliability in east and south-east London, as well as to transform cross-river bus services and support planned growth across the wider area.”