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Four expected to submit tenders for £1.4bn London roads contract

Four teams are set to battle for the London Borough of Hounslow’s £1.4 billion, 25-year highways maintenance PFI contract - despite five being invited to tender.

It is understood that contractor/consultant joint ventures Skanska/Jacobs and Colas/ Scott Wilson have been invited to tender for the contract, valued at between £700 million and £1.4bn.

A joint venture between Vinci and its subsidiary Ringway is also believed to be in the running, as is Balfour Beatty, which has its own in-house consultancy team following its recent acquisition of Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Amey is said to have pre-qualified and been invited to enter the competitive dialogue for the contract but to have declined to bid.

The council had intended to invite a maximum of six firms to participate in the procurement process.

A source at one contractor said that Amey - which won the £2.7bn Birmingham highways PFI last August - may have decided to concentrate on its bids for similar local authority deals with Sheffield City and Isle of Wight Councils, worth £2bn and £1.2bn respectively.

“We suspect that they are not bidding because of Sheffield and the Isle of Wight, and decided they could not find the resources.”

Another industry insider said: “If Amey picks up Sheffield as well, would Hounslow want to spread the work about? It’s not seen as a good thing to have too many eggs in one basket.”

More than a dozen firmsexpressed an interest in the Hounslow contract, although it is thought that not all of them submitted pre-qualification questionnaires.

The first stage of competitive dialogue has already begun. The bidders will be whittled down until a reduced shortlist submits detailed solutions next February.

A preferred bidder is expected in January 2012 with the contract scheduled to start in June that year. The contract covers maintenance and refurbishment work across the borough’s 432 km of road carriageways and 762 km of footways, excluding those managed by Transport for London.

The selected contractor will also be expected to design and build street improvement and car park schemes.
The project has received £267m worth of PFI credits, while the council will be contributing £12.5m per year at 2009/10 prices.

Amey, a Carillion/Mouchel/ Scottish and Southern Energy consortium, and Colas/Scott Wilson are in the running for Sheffield City Council’s £2bn PFI scheme. An award is expected in February 2011.

A notice inviting firms to bid for the Isle of Wight PFI project was issued in March. Contractors have until 13 April to submit PQQs, with invitations to tender expected on 3 June.