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Hunt for Thames bridge contractor postponed

re form rotherhithe bridge

A design and build contractor for the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf bridge in east London will not be appointed this autumn as previously thought after Transport for London (TfL) changed its consents strategy for the scheme.

Previously Transport for London (TfL) had announced it would seek a design and build contractor this autumn for the pedestrian and cycle crossing, estimated to cost between £205M and £272M using a mix of public and private funds. Over the past year a project team has been established for the crossing, working on issues such as procurement, business case developments and planning consents. Consultant Arcadis has been carrying out initial design and costing work for TfL.

But TfL has revealed that rather than pursuing separate consent applications for powers to build and maintain the bridge, it now considers an application for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) most appropriate. This would be submitted in early 2019.

“Earlier this summer we reviewed our programme to ensure it remained deliverable and robust and have decided that a project of this scale and importance should be delivered under a Transport and Works Act Order,” said a spokesperson for TfL.

“Rather than appointing a design and build contractor at this early stage, TfL will now lead the further development of a reference design which will inform the next stages of procurement, as well as the TWAO application. The first public consultation on the crossing, which will seek views on the best location and design option, will be held later this year.”

TfL has provisionally recommended a navigable bridge which would open to allow large boats to pass, but now other options including an enhanced ferry crossing, which would be the quickest and cheapest option, and a tunnel will be consulted on too.

In August London mayor Sadiq Khan said lessons from the botched Garden Bridge procurement would be applied to the Rotherhithe to Canary Wharf crossing.

“This procurement will make sure that lessons and recommendations from previous procurements and Dame Margaret Hodge’s report into the Garden Bridge are followed,” he said at the time.

TfL managing director of surface transport Leon Daniels said: “We are currently progressing a new crossing between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf, which will provide a much-needed walking and cycling connection between the two areas. The work we have carried out so far has suggested that a bridge could be the best option. A public consultation on the bridge, which will include seeking views on the best location, will be held later this year.” 

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