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Preferred bidder announced for Forth Replacement Crossing

Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium has been chosen as the preferred bidder to build the bridge and connecting roads elements of the Forth Replacement Crossing, after bidding to build the biggest Scottish infrastructure project for a generation significantly under budget.

The consortium, comprising Dragados, Hochtief, American Bridge International and Morrison Construction, was chosen ahead of Forthspan, the other consortium bidding for the contract, following an 18 month competitive tendering process.

Both bids were found by Transport Scotland to be valid and of a high standard following a rigorous assessment of technical, quality and cost aspects.

Forthspan was made up of Balfour Beatty, Morgan Est, BAM Nuttall and MT Hojgaard.

FCBC’s successful bid for the design and build contract of £790M at today’s prices, represents a significant saving on the initial estimated cost range of £900M to £1.2bn.

It is intended to award the contract to FCBC in April, subject to a mandatory standstill period, with construction starting on site soon after. 

The FRC project is currently on track to be delivered in 2016 and will replace the current Forth Road Bridge as the main crossing for cross-Forth traffic. 

This bid for the Principal Contract excludes VAT and inflation. By incorporating this bid value and removing the cost of capital charge the FRC project now has a revised total out-turn cost of £1.47bn to £1.6bn. 

This is a significant reduction on the project’s original estimated cost range of £1.7bn to £2.3bn.  

Finance secretary John Swinney said: “The Forth Replacement Crossing project will be essential in protecting and promoting Scotland’s sustainable economic growth, safeguarding a vital link in the country’s transport infrastructure, protecting thousands of jobs and securing over £1bn in economic revenue.

“I was therefore delighted to inform Parliament this morning that the tender period for the FRC Principal Contract has now concluded.

“The successful FCBC consortium includes world class bridge building and civil engineering firms with strong records of successfully delivering similar projects throughout the world. 

“It is a testament to the robust competition we put in place that it has delivered a bid representing a significant saving for Scotland’s capital budget.

“This is yet more compelling evidence that the Scottish Government is managing major infrastructure projects successfully in a way which maximises benefits and minimises cost to the public purse.

“Value for money was clearly an essential factor in making this decision but the winning proposal also includes hugely valuable commitments on sustainability, training and employment opportunities and community engagement. 

“It is particularly pleasing to see that this bid will annually provide 45 vocational training positions, 21 professional body training places and 46 positions for the long term unemployed.

“This means many more employment opportunities will be provided for school leavers, graduate engineers and those currently out of work than originally expected. We will also be working with the preferred bidder to maximise Modern Apprenticeship opportunities.

“Since 2007 we have done everything we can to help the construction industry through a difficult economic climate and our major projects such as the M74 Completion and Clackmannanshire Bridge have supported thousands of Scottish construction jobs, with the majority of workforces often drawn from areas immediately local to the project.

“Scotland’s economy is strengthening and this is another clear demonstration that the Scottish Government’s robust actions to support jobs, skills and training are delivering real results.”

Swinney added that today’s announcement of the FRC preferred bidder represented “remarkable progress” since he first signalled a green light for the project to Parliament in December 2007.

“The project is on time and ahead of budget and that is a considerable achievement considering both the Bill process and procurement of such a major contract had, necessarily given the issues facing the current Forth Road Bridge, to be run concurrently.

 “Since 2007, Transport Scotland has been driving forward the largest transport investment programme Scotland has ever seen with an impressive record of delivery.” 

“This programme has already delivered eleven major road improvement projects on time and within budget or better. This year will see major upgrades to Scotland’s motorway network with the £380M M80 completion and £692M M74 extension projects open ahead of schedule and on budget.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • Once again the client goes for the cheapest option, I wonder how long it will be before it ends up in court trying to claw back the supposed ‘Saving’ they think they have.

    On a side note the proposed crossing is woefully under capacity, with it requiring hard shoulder running on day one! Forward thinking Transport Scotland I think not. This project is going to be another high publicity failure!

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  • Joe Bloggs give your name.

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