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in brief

The £181M Docklands Light Railway extension will open more than two months early, despite being held up for six months after a tunnelling accident last year (NCE 26 February 1998), DLR chief executive Ian Brown claimed this week. The 4.5km, privately financed project was due to open at the end of January next year.

Construction and London minister Nick Raynsford was promoted to Minister of State in this week's Government reshuffle.

The Government is to create a new private sector led body called Partnerships UK to help get the best deal out of the Private Finance Initiative. The move is expected to save the taxpayer up to £1bn over three years.

Construction growth will settle at 2.4% this year and next before slipping to 2% in 2001, according to new figures published by Construction Forecasting and Research this week. But infrastructure work is forecast to contract by 2% in 1999 with only small gains in the next two years.

The Asia Pacific Transport Consortium, led by Brown & Root and including Mowlem subsidiary Barclay Mowlem, has been selected as preferred bidder on the 1415km rail link between Alice Springs and Darwin in Australia. The £485M link will be carried out on a PFI basis and is expected to be complete in 2003.

Chairman of the Engineering Council Dr Bob Hawley has warned that poor pay for engineering academics is leading to a fall in teaching standards. Since 1981 salaries for engineering academics at pre-1992 universities have increased by 30% less than the average for white collar workers.

An exhibition of water-colour painting detailing work on the Jubilee Line Extension is due to be shown at the Museum of London from 1 September to 10 October. Phone (0171) 600 0807.

The Environment Agency has published indicative maps of floodplains ahead of the September target recommended by the inquiry into the Easter 1998 floods.

The pass list of the ICE's 1999 Spring Professional Reviews was published in The Times (p24) on Thursday 29 July.

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