Two main tunnelling packages have been put back from mid-2010 until 2011

The award of tunelling contracts for London’s Crossrail has been delayed until next year.

The contracts for the two main tunnelling packages, which comprise 18 km of the 21 km of twin bore tunnels that will run beneath central London, are worth around 4% of Crossrail’s £16bn cost.

When shortlists were announced in December last year Crossrail said it expected to award the deals by mid-2010. Now they will not be awarded until 2011.

A spokesperson for Crossrail said it is not a delay, as the originally quoted date was just an indication and construction will still begin in late 2011 or early 2012.

Those shortlisted are a team of Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall, Vinci and Beton-und Monierbau Gesellschaft; Costain, Skanska and Bilfinger Berger; Bam Nuttall, Ferrovial and Kier; Dragados and John Sisk; and Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues.