Consultant Mouchel has been dropped from the shortlist of bidders for the programme partner role on the £16bn Crossrail project.

Three contenders are left in the race for the £100m contract: American engineer Bechtel, the Transcend consortium, which is made up of AECOM, CH2M Hill and Nichols Group, and Legacy 3, a joint venture between Parsons Brinckerhoff, Balfour Beatty Management and Davis Langdon.

Bids are due in on 12 December and will be followed by a round of interviews. The winner is expected to be announced in February.

First-stage bids for the role of project partner, which will be responsible for the sections of the link tunnelled under central London, are due in on 5 December. Five teams are in the running, including Legacy 3, Bechtel and Flare, a joint venture between Fluor, Arup and EC Harris.

The news came as it emerged that London’s borough councils will be able to use Transport for London’s (TfL) engineering and project management framework, which is worth up to £500m. TfL invited expressions of interest for the framework this week.

Crossrail and bodies such as the Metropolitan Police will also be able to use the list, which is due to be in place by November 2009.