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Exclusive: Bouygues, Costain, Ferrovial, Hochtief and Skanska to bid for Silvertown tunnel job

Exclusive: A number of heavyweight joint ventures are are gearing up to bid for the £1bn Silvertown tunnel in east London.

Overseas firms are teaming up with some major UK contractors to bag the contract for the east London road tunnel, which will link Silvertown to the Greenwich Peninsula.

Construction News understands that Hochtief / Dragados, Costain / Vinci and Ferrovial / Kier are among the teams eyeing up bids.

Bouygues TP / Bam Nuttall and Strabag / Skanska have also confirmed they have partnered to bid for the scheme.

The contract will be let as a design, build, finance and maintenance deal, with an invitation to tender expected to launch in September.

Work includes the boring of two cut-and-cover tunnels, enabling and utilities work, as well as the maintenance of the tunnel throughout its lifespan.

Construction work on the new tunnel is scheduled to begin in 2018 for completion in 2023.

Silvertown Tunnel_TfL proposed route

Silvertown Tunnel_TfL proposed route

Source: TfL

Transport for London applied for a development consent order in May, just before the mayoral election.

Following Sadiq Khan’s election, the new mayor called for public examination of the scheme which would be run as part of the DCO later this year.

TfL has decided to delay the launch of the procurement process until the autumn to support the review process.

The list of joint ventures includes a number of firms that are currently bidding together for £11.8bn of construction packages on the first phase of the planned HS2 rail line.

Silvertown tunnel: How the rival JVs compare

Bouygues TP / Bam Nuttall 

A new team, Bam and Bouygues bring together a wealth of tunnelling experience. Bam, with Ferrovial and Kier, was part of the BFK team that was involved in the successful tunnelling between Royal Oak and Farringdon. Bouygues TP delivered the £243m New Tyne Crossing project in Newcastle and has carried out a number of global tunnelling projects. These include the recently completed Port of Miami Tunnel project, a 35-year design, construct and maintenance deal.

Costain / Vinci 

The Costain / Vinci team builds on previous partnerships on a number of roads and tunnel projects across the UK. In 2014, Costain / Vinci Grands Projets won the contract to build Scottish Water’s £85m Shieldhall Tunnel in Glasgow. This was followed last year by a Costain / Vinci JV winning the £750m contract to construct a 24 km stretch of motorway outside Newport in south Wales.

Ferrovial / Kier

Kier and Ferrovial were two of the contractors on the BFK Crossrail JV. The team won three contracts for projects valued at more than £700m, including 6.2 km of tunnels between Royal Oak and Farringdon and the sprayed lining works for Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road station tunnels. Ferrovial, alongside Laing O’Rourke, has been been chosen to construct the £900m central section of London’s Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Hochtief / Dragados 

After Dragados’ parent company ACS bought a majority stake in German firm Hochtief, the two have formed close bonds on projects in the UK. Hochtief and Dragados, alongside Galliford Try infrastructure, make up HS2 JV Momentum Infrastructure. The team is currently bidding for four of the seven phase one HS2 civils packages, including the £900m Euston Tunnels package and £1.4bn Chiltern Tunnels packages. The two overseas contractors have also worked together on another major UK river crossing after leading construction on the Queensferry Crossing.

Strabag / Skanska 

Strabag is one of Europe’s leading tunnelling firms and has led construction on a number of major projects on the German and Austrian High-Speed rail networks. It teams up with Skanska again after partnering with the firm, alongside Costain, for HS2 work. The team will be bidding for four of the seven packages including Euston and the Northolt tunnel packages. The team has also forged a relationship on projects across Europe, and the two are working on Norway’s £129m Arna-Bergen tunnel.

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