French builder only firm on shortlists for both Connaught Tunnel and Pudding Mill Lane job

French construction giant Vinci is the early winner for the contest to secure two big tunnelling contracts for the £15.9bn Crossrail scheme.

Vinci Construction UK, largely made up of what was formerly Taylor Woodrow, is the only firm to get on both four-strong shortlists for work published by Crossrail today.

UK firms Bam Nuttall, Carillion, Sisk and Morgan Sindall were all nominated for one of the jobs only. The shortlists are for the construction of the 550m Connaught Tunnel, part of the Abbey Wood branch of the east-west London rail line; and construction of the Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel portal, where the line emerges from underground in east London.

Invitations to tender for the work will be issued next month, with the winners being announced in 2011.

The Connaught tunnel job involves expanding and strengthening an existing tunnel built in 1850 running between Royal Victoria Dock and Royal Albert Dock close to London City Airport, which was part of the former North London Line branch to North Woolwich.

The Pudding Mill Lane job involves construction of the portal for the second main running tunnel into the centre of London.

Crossrail also gave an update today on the status of other major pieces of work expected from the body, seen as important in the light of continued speculation over the future of the mega project. It said tenders have been received for two of the three main tunnelling jobs, C300 (Royal Oak to Farringdon) and C305 (Limmo to Farringdon), and are currently being evaluated. Bids for the third, C310 (Plumstead to North Woolwich), are due to be received this month.

It added that tenders for the four station tunnel contracts at Bond Street, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and Whitechapel will all have been submitted by the end of September.

Andy Mitchell, Programme Director, Crossrail also responded to concern over the body’s decision to delay the awarding of the main contracts until 2011, from mid 2010. He said: “Good progress continues to be made with the procurement of the Crossrail tunnel contracts. Bids for the two main Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) contracts have been received and are being evaluated and contain some interesting ideas that could deliver increased value for money. These are high value and very complex contracts and it is only right that we take time to give them careful consideration.

“It is critical that every pound invested in this vital project achieves maximum value for money. Our message to the construction and design industry over recent months has been clear; sensible efficiency savings will be made at every opportunity and we are determined to deliver Crossrail well within the current funding budget of £15.9 billion. Value for money needs to be at the heart of every Crossrail bid submission.”

The full shortlists for the Connaught Tunnel and the Pudding Mill Lane Portal jobs are:

C315 – Connaught Tunnel

  • Vinci Construction UK
  • Hochtief Murphy Joint Venture
  • BAM Nuttall Ltd
  • VolkerFitzpatrick Barhale Joint Venture

C350 Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel Portal

  • Vinci Construction UK
  • Carillion Construction
  • Dragados-Sisk Joint Venture
  • Morgan Sindall plc


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