SECTION TWO of the UK's Channel Tunnel Rail Link took a step forward last week as 12 organisations were invited by Union Railways (North) to tender for tunnelling contracts worth ú600M ($900M).
The five contracts include 20km of tunnels - over half the total length of the section that will extend the CTRL from Section 1 in north Kent, under the Thames and through east London into St Pancras station.
The contracts - C220, C230, C240, C250 and C320 - are part of a total of 24 packages that make up Section 2. Many packages are utility and diversion contracts, some of which are already under way as part of ú277M of preparatory works.
The biggest contract not yet out to tender is Contract 310, between Ripple Lane Dagenham and Thurrock. This 7km stretch will pass over marshland on a viaduct supported on a piled slab foundation.
Union Railways (North) expects to award the contracts early next year. Each includes a pre-construction period of up to six months, before work on site begins in mid-2001. The entire CTRL is expected to be complete by December 2006.