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Team spirit

In May 1995 Laing project director Mike Hooper found himself lining up for the Gothenburg half-marathon, his first. Alongside him was the rest of 0TC bid management committee. All were complete novices, but the weeks of training paid off, and all seven finished the course.

'We really believed in team building,' Hooper comments. The team itself had been formed late in 1993 to bid for the entire 0resund Fixed Link project - but its roots went back to 1992.

Hooper explains: 'Building on our joint venture success on the Second Severn Crossing project, Laing, GTM, NCC and Strabag of Germany formed a strategic alliance to secure major infrastructure projects in Europe.

'0resund was one of the first to come up. But as Strabag was already committed to another Oresund group, Laing, NCC and GTM went ahead on their own.'

The lack of a Danish partner was ended when Pihl & Son came on board. Extra marine expertise was supplied by Boskalis Westminster Dredging. Further marine support was added when Morrison Knudsen from the USA joined, but financial difficulties caused the company to withdraw just before tender submission.

Hooper adds: 'We also needed a structural engineer of international repute. What was then Travers Morgan (now Symonds) had the track record - on the Conwy and Cork immersed tube tunnels - and wasn't already tied up to any of our competitors.'

NCC took the leadership of the bid management committee, setting up a separate project office in Malmo headed by a dedicated project manager. The 20 plus staff was made up of engineers and planners from all the jv members. 'We were all very keen and enthusiastic, and there was a lot of team-building apart from the half-marathon,' Hooper remembers.

There was a lot of debate about 'the risks of doing something different,' he goes on. Money was set aside for cooling pipes in the segments in case whole section casting turned out to be impractical, but overall the team held its nerve, and the very different scheme it presented won the day, in summer 1995.

Hooper believes there was one less obvious factor that contributed to the bid's success. 'Having the main production facility in Copenhagen had many obvious logistical benefits,' he explains.

'It also gave the Danes a sense of sharing equally in the Crossing project with the Swedes. Building the tunnel in Denmark balanced the building of the bridge in Sweden.'

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