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EXCLUSIVE | Bouygues lands Thames Garden Bridge project

French giant Bouygues has landed the contract to build the controversial £175M Thames Garden Bridge, NCE can reveal.

Bam Nuttall was the only British company vying to construct the 6,000m2 river crossing, to be sited between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridges in the heart of London.

Spanish giant Dragados was also competing for the right to build the Thomas Heatherwick-designed bridge, which was approved by London mayor Boris Johnson.

The shortlist was drawn up by project promoter the Garden Bridge Trust, and it is understood that Bouygues has now been chosen for the role, in joint venture with Italian steelwork contractor Cimolai.

It was also announced this week that a legal challenge to Lambeth Council’s decision to award planning permission for the bridge would go to judicial review in June.

Lambeth and Westminster Councils approved plans for the scheme.

But this week a judge said that opponents’ claims that the structure would obstruct views to the north of the river, and that there was inadequate provision for on-going maintenance costs, must be heard in court.

It means that Lambeth Council’s decision to approve the bridge will be debated. The legal challenge has been spearheaded by the Waterloo Community Development Group leader Michael Ball.

A statement from the Garden Bridge Trust said it was working closely with the London Borough of Lambeth to decide what to do next.

It claimed that the bridge would have a 240t copper-nickel alloy skin to protect it and make it maintenance-free for 120 years.

It added there was a clear business plan to cover the estimated £3.5M per annum needed for on-going maintenance and operations.

Engineer and technical specialist Arup and landscape designer Dan Pearson have already been appointed to the scheme.

Garden Bridge Trust vice chair Paul Morrell last year said the bridge would “showcase the best of UK design, engineering and landscape talent”.

But senior engineers have questioned the cost of the bridge, and others have challenged the fact that cyclists will have to dismount to cross it, and that it will close at midnight.

The Trust’s website said it had received more than £125M towards the cost of the project and that construction was scheduled to start in January 2016.

Lambeth Council said it was carefully examining the decision to allow a judicial review.

Readers' comments (3)

  • A bridge that closes at midnight. Sounds medieval. Will there be a gatehouse with a guard in chainmail?
    Still, it's good to see we are supporting the French and Italian economies...

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  • can you imagine a british contractor being awarded a contract to build a bridge across the seine? no? i wonder why...

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  • The whole idea of placing this ego trip in such a location is a disgrace. The Civil Engineering profession should take a stand against it.

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