Procurement has begun on a £197M programme for a Bus Rapid Transit Network in the Bristol area, ahead of a planned construction start in 2014.
The network, which will connect commuter areas of North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, will offer a much improved public transport service to the Greater Bristol area and is expected to drive economic growth. With clear information, fast boarding and smartcard ticketing and links to the wider bus network the rapid transit network will offer a high quality experience, reliability and ease of use, with modern vehicles and, in places, its own right of way.
The project is being driven by West of England, a body that brings together Bath & North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire on high level planning issues.
The three schemes that make up the rapid transit network - Ashton Vale to Bristol City Centre, North Fringe to Hengrove Package and the South Bristol Link - are at different stages of design prior to build, providing a number of opportunities for contractors. West of England has used WSP to develop a joint procurement strategy to ensure procurement and operational activities are joined up across all the local authorities involved.
Up for grabs now are seven design and build contracts for elements of the North Fringe to Hengrove Package and the Ashton Vale to Temple Meads schemes, covering the guided busway and key structures, as well as an overall design and build for the South Bristol Link.