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Contractor Vinci pulls out of Forth Crossing consortium

French contracting giant Vinci Construction Grands Projets has pulled out of the Forthspan joint venture (JV) that is bidding for the Forth Replacement Crossing.

The official announcement of Vinci’s unexplained departure was held back by Forthspan until its replacement had been confirmed. Danish firm MT Hojgaard will now take over the French contracting giant’s quarter stake in the JV, which formed a year ago.

“Forthspan remains committed to continued participation in the procurement process for the Forth Replacement Crossing,” it said in a statement. The other partners are Morgan Sindall, Bam Nuttall and Balfour Beatty.

While Vinci refused to explain the reasons behind its decision to bow out of bidding for the £2.3bn crossing, the firm is understood to be concentrating much of its efforts on those major projects that are potentially more lucrative such as the £15.9bn mega rail scheme Crossrail and the over £2bn London Tideway Improvements project.

It has already won the £600M Lee Tunnel contract for the latter in partnership with its geotechnical sister firm Bachy Soletanche and Morgan Sindall. And it has joined up with Balfour Beatty and Morgan Sindall again, as well as Beton und Monierbau, to bid for the two major Crossrail tunnelling contracts.

By contrast, the Forth Replacement Crossing scheme previously came under fire for being too proscribed in its design, leaving little room for a contractor to carry out lucrative detailed design work.

Last year client Transport Scotland was forced to encourage contractors to enter the bidding process by promising to refund their bidding costs by up to £10M. “This is a welcome and positive sign that Transport Scotland appreciates the very considerable cost to contractors in terms of resources committed in tendering for a project as large as the Replacement Forth Crossing,” Civil Engineering Contractors Association Scotland chief executive Alan Watt said at the time.

While relatively unknown in the UK, MT Hojgaard previously worked on the two largest bridges in Denmark - the Oresund Crossing and the western section of the Great Belt Bridge. Along with it’s Forthspan partners it is up against German firm Hochtief in JV with Morrison Construction, ACS of Spain and American Bridge of Pennsylvania.

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