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Ferrovial set to win £1bn Silvertown Tunnel contract

Silvertown Tunnel approach

Ferrovial-owned Cintra Global is preferred bidder on the £1bn Silvertown Tunnel under the River Thames in London, New Civil Engineer understands.

The Spanish contractor is set to beat rival bidder Hochtief to the contract, after a Skanska/Strabag joint venture pulled out of the race to design, build, finance, and maintain the 1km tunnel in March last year. 

New Civil Engineer understands that Transport for London (TfL) will officially announce its preferred bidder next week, before awarding the contract in August.

The award of the contract has been delayed by five months as additional ground investigation surveys had to be completed. This delay has also had an impact on the opening of the tunnel meaning it will now be completed in 2024 rather than the originally published 2023 date.

As part of the procurement process the bidders underwent a confidential dialogue, during which the contractors were invited to interact with TfL to ask questions and develop a more thorough design.

A Development Consent Order (DCO) to build the east London scheme was delayed by six months and subsequently granted by transport secretary Chris Graying in May last year, despite concerns from environmental campaigners about negative impacts on air quality caused by tunnel traffic.

Silvertown Tunnel map

Silvertown Tunnel map

Contractors working on the 1.4km twin-bore road tunnel connecting Silvertown and Greenwich, will face a number of challenges including overcoming conditions attached to the DCO. This includes amending a hazardous chemicals licence for a nearby chemical plant before the tunnel is opened.

Tolls will be used to help manage demand and fund the scheme.

Current plans show two 11.45m internal diameter bores, each approximately 1km long, with two traffic lanes per bore and connecting cross-passages. Cut and cover approaches at Greenwich and Silvertown are also planned to be approximately 200m long.

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