CONTRACTORS FOR Italy's £2.26bn Messina Bridge will have to pay up to £452M to participate in the project, client Stretto di Messina said this week.
The money will be repaid at the end of the project, assuming work is completed satisfactorily.
Stretto di Messina wants to start construction of the £2.26bn, record breaking 3.3km main span mega bridge, linking the toe of Italy to Sicily, at the end of next year.
Technical director Giuseppi Fiammenghi told potential bidders this week that prequalification tenders will be assessed, among other criteria, on how much 'pre-finance' contractors can offer.
The Italian firm is demanding a minimum investment of 10% project cost, worth £226M, and is looking to contractors to deliver as much as 20%.
'The project demands that we engage the biggest, most technically competent and financially secure firms in the world, ' said Fiammenghi. 'The requirement to provide pre-finance rules out most contractors, even if they form consortia.
'We (Stretto di Messina) know of only three contractors worldwide capable of undertaking this project. We expect to receive bids from no more than five.'
In the last week Stretto di Messina's management board has toured New York, London and Tokyo to drum up backing for the project.
Bidders must apply to prequalify for the design and build contract by 13 July.
Stretto di Messina plans to award the contract by the end of this year.