Crossrail calls bids but delays main tunnel awards
Crossrail calls bids but delays main tunnel awards Sep 2010
Patrick Reynolds, Freelance Reporter
As bids are invited for the next set of tunnel work on the Crossrail project in London, award of the two biggest running tunnel packages has been delayed to allow more time for evaluation of contract proposals.
Pic 2

Eight TBMs will excavate the project's total 21km of twin running tunnels

Crossrail had previously said that the two main twin tube running tunnel contracts, C300 (Western Running Tunnels) and C305 (Eastern Running Tunnels), were expected to be awarded by mid-year. Now, nearing the end of the third quarter, Crossrail has announced that the bids received "contain some interesting ideas that could deliver increased value for money", and added: "These are high value and very complex contracts and it is only right that we take time to give them careful consideration."
Despite the delay, Crossrail expects work on the main TBM bores to start, as planned, in late 2011.
In the meantime, bids are due this month for the project's third major running tunnel package, contract C310 for the Thames River crossing between Plumstead, south of the River, to North Woolwich. Bids are invited from the following five shortlisted groups:
• Alpine/Beton- und Monierbau JV with Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall (parent of Morgan Est) and Vinci
• BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier
• Bilfinger Berger, Costain and Skanska
• Hochtief and J Murphy
• Bouygues, Laing O'Rourke and Strabag
Crossrail has also announced prequalified shortlists for contracts C315, to refurbish the existing Connaught Tunnel, and C350 for the Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel Portal.
Four groups are shortlisted for the Connaught Tunnel refurbishment.
• Vinci
• Hochtief/J Murphy JV
• BAM Nuttall
• VolkerFitzpatrick Barhale JV
The Connaught Tunnel is about 550m long and was built in the middle of the 19th Century. It has been closed since late 2006 when part of the former North London main rail line, in the former Docklands in the East of the capital, was taken out of service. The tunnel is to be enlarged for incorporating into the Crossrail route south to Abbey Wood. Invitations to submit bids are to be issued in October.
Four are shortlisted for the Pudding Mill Lane Tunnel Portal contract C350:
• Vinci
• Carillion Construction
• Dragados-Sisk JV
• Morgan Sindall
Invitations to bid the contract will be issued in October.
Pudding Mill Lane is one of the two main tunnel portals on the £15.9 billion (US$24.6 billion) rail scheme to drive 21km long twin tubes under London. Costain-Skanska JV is already working on C248 at Pudding Mill Lane Portal to build the TBM receiving chamber and a diaphragm wall. The JV is also working on contract C330 at the other main portal, at Royal Oak, near Paddington Station, where the first TBMs are due to be launched in October 2011.
The two mail tunnel packages account for just over 36km of the 42km of TBM tunnelling on the project with contract C310 including twin drives under the Thames accounting for the remainder.
Contract C300 comprises the 6.2km long twin drives from Royal Oak Portal to Farringdon Station in central London. The three sections of the C305 from Limmo and Pudding Mill Lane to Farringdon are 8.3km, 2.7km and 0.9km. The call for expressions of interest estimated the programme for each contract at 58 months and 66 months, respectively. First trains are due to be in service in 2017.
Bids for the two main tunnel contracts were invited from the shortlisted groups:
• Balfour Beatty, Morgan Est, Vinci and Beton- und Monierbau
• BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman and Kier
• Costain, Skanska and Bilfinger Berger
• Dragados and John Sisk
• Laing O'Rourke, Bouygues and Strabag
While it was expected that the two main tunnel contracts might be awarded by the middle of this year, the change of Government in the UK in May meant that the future of the scheme first needed to be ensured. While backing the project's strategic contribution to long-term development of the UK economy, the new Government is focusing on ensuring there's significant focus on value-for-money in the partly publicly-funded rail scheme.
TunnelTalk coverage of the project includes recent publication of a three-part introduction to the geotechnical work carried for the tunnelling and underground excavations. The series focuses on Geotechnical preparations, Site investigation and geological expectations, and Settlement control measures.
Monitoring contract for Crossrail - TunnelTalk, June 2010
Crossrail management mobilized - TunnelTalk, May 2009

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