A new prior information notice (PIN) for the £6bn Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) based on updated plans after the government pulled the plug on how it will be financed, will be published in January next year.
A previous PIN was issued in December 2017, and was based on part of the scheme being funded under a PF2 model. However, following chancellor Philip Hammond’s decision to axe PFI and PF2 deals, Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan confirmed that the scheme will be entirely publicly funded.
Speaking at New Civil Engineer’s Tunnelling Festival, Highways England project director Tim Jones said despite the change in funding, engagement with the market had already started and urged suppliers to get on board early.
The project recently launched its public consultation, which it claimed is the largest public consultation in the UK for a road project.
“To the suppliers in the room, if you haven’t looked at the statutory consultation materials and if you haven’t embedded that in your team, that’s a mistake,” he said. “That will be the first batch of tender documents you will be given.
“When it comes to procurement it won’t be you straggling around with all your resources for prices. You will have been on the journey with us and you will have really been able to live and breathe how we are developing this project.”
Jones said the project was now looking at how it could use 2019 as a “real engagement tool, pre-procurement” to make sure it was listening to the industry on how it could improve a range of construction issues such as logistics and programme.
“It is important that as we are doing the statutory consultation we are also engaging with the frontline tier one suppliers,” he said.
Last month Highways England said that the crossing would be future-proofed along its 23km route with over 600 charging points and full data coverage to support the roll out of electric and autonomous vehicles.
The multi-billion-pound LTC project will create a new, three-lane dual carriageway connecting the M2 near Rochester in Kent with the M25 in Essex between North and South Ockenden.
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