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Preferred bidder for Mersey Gateway bridge announced

The Merseylink Consortium, comprising German Bilfinger Berger, Spanish FCC Construcción and finance giant Macquarie has been announced preferred bidder for the £594M Mersey Gateway bridge.

Client Halton Borough Council formally announced the winner in a press conference in Runcorn at 11am on Thursday.

The Merseylink consortium beat off bids from a Balfour Beatty/Bouygues consortium and the MGL consortium of Bam Nuttall, Hochtief and Spain’s Iridium to design, build, finance and operate a new toll bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes, together with associated work in the towns.

Merseylink has selected consultant Flint and Neill to lead design of the 1km long crossing. US consultant URS, and Spanish consultant Eptisa and Fehcor are also working on the design. The winning design has stuck closely to the client’s vision of a three tower cable stayed structure, but with the deck now to be constructed using reinforced concrete instead of steel. This switch has saved “tens of millions” on the projected public sector contribution to the £2bn project budget, said Halton.

FCC will build the bridge in joint venture with Korean giant Samsung and Kier.

Halton opened competitive dialogue with the three bidders last April and was originally expected to name its preferred bidder last December.

Under the terms of the contract, the winning bidder must fund the £594M construction cost of the bridge, associated structures and road improvements and manage the toll crossing for the next 26.5 years.

Merseylink and the council team will work on the final details of the plans before reaching financial close, signing a contract and starting site clearance and demolition later this year. Full details of the winning bid will be published at that time

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