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UK Silvertown project decision delay 09 Nov 2017

Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk

Planning consent decision for the Silvertown road tunnel under the River Thames in London is delayed by six months by the UK Government to provide more time to study concerns over air quality under new rules.

Stylised portal to the planned highway river crossing
Stylised portal to the planned highway river crossing

A decision was expected by end of this week (10 Nov 2017) under an already extended timetable. The new deadline for the decision on the Transport for London (TfL) twin bore Thames crossing is 10 May 2018. In a statement, the Department of Transport said: “The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to give development consent.”

Confirmation of the successful bidder to build the project has been further delayed by the rescheduled deadline. TfL is procuring the project through a design, finance, build and maintain (DFBM) procurement route.

Originally, the Government had three months to decide following receipt of a project recommendation report from the Planning Inspectorate in July but announced on the day of the 11 October deadline to push back the deadline by a month from to 10 November. Now, with only a few days until the next deadline, the decision is delayed again and by a significantly longer period.

The Department of Transport said the extra time is needed to study how the scheme could affect air quality, including compliance with the updated UK plan to track roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. Details of the new air quality plan were published in July, shortly after receiving the Planning Inspectorate’s report. An overview of the plan is available for download.

TfL submitted its planning application for Silvertown Tunnel in April 2016. The anticipated project schedule, pending planning approval in late 2017, was for construction to get underway in mid-2018 and the project to be completed by about 2022-23. It is designed to relieve chronic congension on the twin tube Blackwall Tunnel road tunnel that also links the Greenwich Peninsula on the south to the north bank of the river and provide an alternative route across the Thames.

References

Silvertown Thames highway crossing shortlist 16 Mar 2017

TunnelTalk reporting

Three consortia of a list of prequalified groups have been shortlisted by Transport for London (TfL) to design, finance, build and maintain the new twin-bore Silvertown road tunnel under the River Thames to the east of London.

The groups are led by:

  • Cintra Global Ltd, the toll highway developer of the Ferrovial Group of Spain
  • Hochtief PPP Solutions GmbH of Germany
  • The Skanska Strabag Swedish-Austrian partnership

New crossing will relieve current chronic congestion on existing tunnel and bridge crossings of the lower Thames
New crossing will relieve current chronic congestion on existing tunnel and bridge crossings of the lower Thames

Following a call for prequalification for the coveted new project in June 2016, 10 teams were announced as vying for the PPP contract. Teams announced at the time included:

  • Acciona and Sisk;
  • Balfour Beatty with Obayashi;
  • Bam and Bouygues;
  • Bechtel;
  • FCC with Laing O’Rourke;
  • Hochtief, John Laing and ACS;
  • Macquarie, Ferrovial and Kier;
  • Strabag and Skanska;
  • Sacyr and Fluor;
  • Vinci

TBM excavation has been specified for the river crossing as opposed to a bridge or immersed tube structure and a twin bore rather than a single large diameter double deck tunnel is also favoured by the client and its consultants.

Construction of the new tunnel would begin in 2019, subject to final planning approval by UK Secretary of State for Transport, and meet a projected opening in 2023. The new highway crossing is required to help ease current chronic peak traffic congestion at the existing Blackwall road tunnel crossing and also at the Dartford bridge and tunnel crossing further down river on the M25 London orbital motorway.

Under the terms of the proposed contract, the contractors of the winning consortium will be required to deliver a range of measures to reduce construction impacts such as:

  • Reducing road use by construction vehicles, with at least 55% of all materials for the project carried via the river;
  • All vehicles working on the construction will be required to be Euro VI and compliant with the new Direct Vision Standard as implemented by the Mayor of London;
  • Developing an extensive community engagement plan, describing how it will keep the local community informed prior to and throughout the works;
  • Creating about 150 local apprenticeships, job starts and educational opportunities.

A six month planning review into the plans for the tunnel is currently underway and a decision is expected by the Secretary of State in Autumn 2017. Confirmation of the successful bidder will be made following this decision.

The scheme will be privately financed through a design, finance, build, and maintain (DBFM) contract with the successful delivery partner receiving payments from TfL once the tunnel is open and available for use.

References

           

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