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Bidders assess financial backlash

THE CONSTRUCTION industry has reacted angrily to the news that the CTRL is now likely to face serious delay.

Senior engineers and commentators this week slammed LCR's late admission of difficulties and claimed that delays to the project would have a 'major impact' on their businesses.

Bidders for the main tunnelling contracts said they were 'extremely disappointed but not surprised by the news'. One managing director claimed he had suspected funding problems all along, but had to continue bidding.

'We went to [LCR chairman Sir Derek] Hornby some time ago with our concerns but he was always very positive. There are no jobs as big as CTRL at the moment, so what could we do?' he said.

The 22 shortlisted contractors claimed to have spent up to £500,000 each on bids, depending on the number and size of jobs tendered (NCE 20 October 1997). Because none had yet signed exclusivity agreements with LCR they will not be entitled to any reimbursement.

One major contractor claimed to have had a team of 30 'fairly heavyweight' engineers working on CTRL tenders. Another senior source complained: 'We have allocated a significant number of resources to the bid which could have been used on other projects. It will definitely affect us next financial year.'

Asked if contractors would go through the tender process again if the scheme is rescued under a different concession agreement, one bid manager blasted: 'It's cost us all a fortune. I wouldn't have thought there would be much keenness to re-bid. There would certainly have to be some reassurances.'

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