Bam, Ferrovial and Kier the biggest winners while Laing O’Rourke and Costain lose out

Crossrail has confirmed that three contractor consortiums have been awarded the largest Crossrail contracts to date, with Bam Nuttall, Kier, Balfour Beatty and Morgan Sindall all winning hundreds of millions of pounds worth of tunnelling work.

A joint venture between Bam Nuttall, Ferrovial and Kier has been awarded two jobs, worth £550m in total, to both build the western tunnels and the access shafts to Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations.

In addition Crossrail has named the winning bidders for the Eastern tunnels and access shafts for Whitechapel and Liverpool Street Stations. The £450m tunnelling job will be given to a joint venture of Irish contractor Sisk and Spanish builder Dragados, while a consortium of Balfour Beatty, Vinci and Morgan Sindall has been awarded the £250m access shafts work.

The contract awards, revealed by Building yesterday, are some of the very largest for the whole £14.5bn Crossrail project, which was delayed by a year following the government’s Spending Review in October.

The decision by Crossrail means that the consortium of Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues, and the consortium of Bilfinger Berger, Costain and Skanska, will leave the bidding process with nothing to show for it.

Rob Holden, Crossrail chief executive, said the award was a “very significant” milestone and thanked all the bidders. He said: “The value of the contracts, combined with the length of tunnel to be constructed, is on a scale not seen in the UK since the Jubilee Line Extension or the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Tunnelling activity will get underway in late 2011.

Rail minister Theresa Villiers said: “Today we take an important step forward in one of Europe’s biggest infrastructure projects. These tunnels - stretching 13 miles under the city – will help boost rail capacity across London by 10 per cent, relieving overcrowding on other hard-pressed services.”

Kulveer Ranger, Mayor of London’s transport advisor, said the award was “another step closer to making this all important railway a reality.”

Two 120-long tunnel boring machines will begin their work in the spring of 2012, with ten separate tunnel drives required in all to build the 21km of underground railway making up Crossrail.