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TfL reveals how it will choose Silvertown Tunnel bidder

Silvertown tunnel

Transport for London (TfL) is to use a ”confidential dialogue” process on its procurement of the complex Silvertown Tunnel project.

As part of the process to select the preferred bidder, TfL is to hold a confidential dialogue with each of the bidders over the next six months. During the process, the contractors will be invited to interact with TfL to ask questions and develop a more thorough design.

TfL said while it was waiting for the outcome of the Development Consent Order (DCO), which was submitted to government in April last year, its attention was now turning to the procurement process and getting the best possible design for the project.

In March this year, three bidders were short listed to design, construct, finance and maintain the complex 1km, twin-bore road tunnel through the confined urban area east of the Blackwall Tunnel in London.

Variations of the the procurement method have been successfully used before on the Bank upgrade and Paddington link project under an NEC, design and build contract (D&B), but TfL said this was the first time it has been used on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project with a DCO.

On the Bank upgrade an Innovative Contractor Engagement (ICE) model was used during the procurement process with the aim of achieving the best possible design outcome. During the process the four shortlisted contractors developed proposals in isolation with good ideas financially rewarded even if they did not win the overall contract.

“This is a fresh contracting method and a fresh procurement model” said London Underground principal tunnel engineer Keith Bowers.

“This is providing an opportunity for our contractors to engage with us as they carry on their tendering process.”

A decision on the DCO is expected to be made by the government in the Autumn with the announcement of a preferred bidder expected in spring next year.

Shortlisted contractors

Ferrovial-owned Cintra Global supported by Arup, Cowi and Ayesa.

Hochtief PPP Solutions - a joint venture bringing in sister company Iridiium and John Laing Infrastructure Fund, with actual construction work planned to be subcontracted to Hochtief’s UK arm and Spanish sister firm Dragados.


Timeline for the tunnel

April 2016: Application to the transport secretary for the DCO

2016-2017: Hearing and examination process

2017: Decision on the application expected

2018/19: Construction begins

2022/23: Earliest opening date of the new tunnel



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