The two bids in the running to build the new road bridge over the Firth of Forth have submitted their final proposals, it has emerged.
Forthspan and Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) are competing for the contract to build the new bridge and connecting roads.
The submission of the final tenders for the contract, expected to cost between £900M and £1.2bn, comes after a year-long competitive process between the two consortiums and Transport Scotland before the contract is awarded in April.
In December last year MSPs voted overwhelmingly in favour of building the Forth Replacement Crossing (FRC), estimated to cost up to £2.3bn in total.
Scotland’s transport minister Keith Brown said the bridge was “absolutely vital” to Scotland’s economy.
The submission of the final tenders marks the last significant step before the contract is awarded and construction work begins.
“Both consortia bidding for this contract are led by world class bridge building and civil engineering firms with strong records of successfully delivering similar projects throughout the world,” said Brown.
“I look forward to the announcement of the contract award soon with the start of construction on this absolutely essential project following thereafter.
“The FRC is a major part of this government’s programme of investment in Scotland’s economy and it will safeguard a vital link in the country’s transport infrastructure, protect thousands of jobs and secure over a billion pounds in economic revenue.”
The additional economic benefit of the project was estimated to be worth around £6bn by the British Chambers of Commerce.
David Climie, the project’s director, said: “The sheer scale of the FRC project and the level of investment in this area during its construction period will no doubt bring significant opportunities for local business to benefit once the main contracts are awarded.
“This was a hugely successful event that brought the public sector together with businesses and industry groups to ensure they had the right information to plan effectively and take advantage of these opportunities.”
The project will result in a 2.7km long double span bridge and will take between five and six years to build.
The bridge is expected to carry road traffic, with the corrosion-hit Forth Road Bridge being dedicated to public transport.
It is estimated the project will create 3,000 new jobs.