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Cost and schedule cuts win Messina for Impregilo


ITALIAN CONTRACTOR Impregilo won the contract to build the world's longest suspension bridge in mid-October, with a bid E500M (£340M) cheaper than the client's target cost.

Ian Firth, partner at bridge design specialist Flint & Neill and technical adviser to Stretto di Messina throughout tender preparation and bid evaluation, said costs would be reviewed following detailed geotechnical investigation over the next year, but that he did not expect any dramatic changes.

Impregilo's bid also shaves eight months off client Stretto di Messina's six and a half year projected construction schedule.

The 3.3km Strait of Messina crossing, between mainland Italy and Sicily, will be nearly 1.5km longer than the current single span world record holder, Japan's Akashi Kaikyo bridge.

Bids for Messina were weighted 55% on technical, logistical and operational criteria, and 45% price.

Impregilo and the only rival bidder, Astaldi, were closely matched on the technical, logistical and operational content of their bids, said Stretto di Messina technical director Enzo Vulla.

Impregilo heads a consortium of Italian firms Sacyr, SocietÓ Italiana Per Condotte D'Acqua, Cooperativa Muratori & Cementisti, ACI, and Japanese firm Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries.

The project is being 40% financed by the Italian government and 60% by private investment. Provided Impregilo can deliver, outturn cost will be £2.65bn, down from an anticipated £2.99bn.

Firth said that both bids had been highly detailed.

'The amount of research Imregilo and Astaldi have managed to do in a very short [tender] period has been astonishing.

'They both managed to address the major technical and logistical risks. Everything they've done goes to confirm the confidence that has been built up over the last 30 years in the deliverability of this project.' A consortium led by German firm Strabag pulled out of bidding in April claiming the tender period did not allow enough time to weigh geotechnical risks (GE June 05). The tender deadline was extended by a month following appeals from Astaldi.

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