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Shortlist announced for Lower Thames Crossing project

Highways England announced that is has shortlisted three joint ventures to build the £2.3 billion Lower Thames Crossing, the longest road tunnel in Britain that will link Essex and Kent under the River Thames.

The shortlisted firms are:

• BFV – A joint venture of Bam Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and Vinci Construction Grands Projets. Consultants Atkins, Tecnica y Proyectos (TYPSA) and Stantec UK are supporting the JV;
• BMJV – A joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics and Murphy, supported by Mott McDonald and Arup;
• DHJV – A joint venture of Dragados and Hochtief Infrastructure.

The Lower Thames Crossing will double road capacity across the?River?Thames east of London, with 23 km (14.3 miles) of new road featuring two 4.2 km (2.6 mile) long tunnels.

The?Tunnels and Approaches?contract?includes?the design and?construction of?16-m (52-ft) wide, twin-road tunnels under?the river. They will be the longest road tunnels in the UK and among the widest in the world, Highways England claimed.?The scope of the contract also includes the portal buildings, approach roads and the tunnel systems.

The whole project was originally due to be completed in 2027 or 2028 but, in October 2020, Highways England withdrew its application for a development consent order, stating it needed to make changes to its plans. The application, which is required to be approved before work can start, has not yet been resubmitted.

On naming the shortlist, Lower Thames Crossing executive director Matt Palmer said: “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.”

A statement from Highways England added that the scheme will help support more than 22,000 jobs during construction and improve connections to the area’s ports, distribution hubs and?manufacturing centres.

Jacobs was awarded a £162.5 million contract to be integration partner on the project earlier this year. It has responsibility for ensuring that cost, time and quality goals are met.

Last week procurement was launched for the £1.9 billion contract for the two approach roads to the new crossing.

Highways England is building on its track record of successfully delivering major projects by bringing in partners and expertise from across the infrastructure industry. This contract is one of three main works contracts that will make up the scheme, with a £1.9 billion roads contract currently out for tender and the £162.5 million Integration Partner contract awarded to Jacobs earlier in the year.

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 was withdrawn?in order to?provide more information.


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