Construction News

Tue April 13 2021

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Shortlist announced for £2.3bn Lower Thames Crossing tunnels

5 days Dutch, Spanish and French owned construction companies have been shortlisted for the £2.3bn contract to build the longest road tunnels in Britain.

CGI of the north portal of the tunnel on the Essex side
CGI of the north portal of the tunnel on the Essex side

Highways England has revealed the three groups shortlisted for the tunnels and approaches package of the Lower Thames Crossing.

The Lower Thames Crossing is a £6bn project in all, comprises 14.3 miles of new road to the east of London, with twin 2.6 mile-long tunnels under the river to connect Kent and Essex.

The groups invited to enter into competitive dialogue with Highways England, which is the next stage in the contract tender process, are:

• BFV Joint Venture; comprising BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and Vinci Construction Grands Projets, supported by Atkins, Tecnica y Proyectos (TYPSA) and Stantec

• Bouygues Murphy Joint Venture (BMJV); comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons, supported by Mott McDonald and Ove Arup & Partners

• Dragados-Hochtief Joint Venture (DH JV); comprising Dragados and Hochtief Infrastructure, (both part of Spain's ACS Group).

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The tunnels and approaches contract includes design and construction of twin road tunnels under the River Thames. At 16 metres wide, these tunnels will be some of the largest bored tunnels in the world.  They will also be the longest road tunnels in the UK. The scope also includes the portal buildings, approach roads and the tunnel systems.  

Lower Thames Crossing executive director Matt Palmer said: “The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road project this country has seen since the M25 was completed 35 years ago. This contract shows our commitment to this project, which will support 22,000 jobs during its construction and provide a huge economic boost to the UK economy when it opens for traffic. 

“This contract is unparalleled in its ambition, and we need the right partner to match that ambition. We look forward to entering into competitive dialogue with the three shortlisted companies and hope the final bids match our aspirations.”

Highways England plans to resubmit its application for a Development Consent Order later this year. An application was originally submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in October 2020 but lacked essential details and so had to be withdrawn.

In February  US consulting engineer Jacobs was handed a £162.5m contract to oversee construction of the whole project.

Last week bids were called from contractors for the £1.9bn contracts to build 14.3 miles of  new roads in Kent and Essex to connect the Lower Thames Crossing to the existing road network.

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