The two consortia fighting it out for £1.2 billion of work on the new Forth Road Bridge have been asked to submit their tenders for the first package by December.
Procurement for the next two packages - the main bridge contracts - will also begin over the summer, Transport Scotland’s interim project director John Howison confirmed.
He was updating Scotland’s parliamentary Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee on the
Mr Howison told the committee: “We have made progress in securing procurement of the project.
“The project is to be delivered in three contracts. The bidding process has started for the connecting roads, and the other parts of the construction contracts will be procured later this summer.”
The Forthspan consortium - which comprises Morgan Est, Bam Nuttall, Balfour Beatty and Vinci Construction Grands Projets - is competing for the work against a joint venture of Hochtief, Morrison Construction, Spanish firm ACS and US contractor American Bridge.
Mr Howison told MSPs the project would be delivered on time and on budget. He said all milestones so far had been hit “pretty much within a week of the timetable we have been working to”.
He also said he wasn’t expecting the government’s budget for the scheme to be dented by inflation. “Looking at the uncertainties and particularly the range of inflation, we are still working within the range of £1.7bn to £2.3bn that
the minister announced.
He added: “The critical time to reassess is when we get actual prices in from contractors. Those prices will be in at December.” The new bridge is currently waiting for parliamentary approval under a new hybrid bill.
A third series of ground and marine investigations will be carried out later this month following requests by the consortia.
The data produced from the investigations - being organised by consultants Jacobs Arup - will be used to support the teams’ tender submissions.