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Hunt for Thames bridge contractor to start in Autumn

RHB Day Bridge Half Open

A design and build contractor will be sought this autumn for a cycle and pedestrian bridge linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf in East London.

Transport for London (TfL) has already appointed consultant Arcadis to carry out initial design and costing work, including deciding on what type of bridge it should be. A feasibility study was published last year by travel charity Sustrans, which recommended a bascule bridge to allow for river traffic.

London mayor Sadiq Khan told the Greater London Authority (GLA) last week that although initial designs exist, TfL will be looking for new innovations which make the bridge cheaper and quicker to build.

“One of the things that I’m hoping those who will bid for the contract to design and build the bridge will have noted is my comments that I want it done as soon as possible,” said Khan, adding an applicant proposing a shorter timeframe could be “considered more favourably than someone who’ll take longer”.

A consultation is planned for early 2018, and the bridge is expected to be completed by 2020/21. Initial estimates show the bridge could cost between £205M and £272M; a mix of public and private finance will be sought for the scheme. Both TfL’s business case and Khan’s draft transport strategy already include plans for the bridge.

Khan stressed that the procurement process would not repeat problems encountered during the now-cancelled Garden Bridge project. On Monday (14 August) the Garden Bridge was officially dropped by the Garden Bridge Trust, the charity behind the scheme.

“This procurement will make sure that lessons and recommendations from previous procurements and Dame Margaret Hodge’s report into the Garden Bridge are followed,” he said.

Arcadis and TfL have been contacted for comment.

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