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Three consortia shortlisted for £5bn M25 mega DBFO


THREE HEAVYWEIGHT construction and finance groups are now working on bids for the £5bn M25 design build finance and operate (DBFO) contract, after being shortlisted by the Highways Agency last week.

The shortlisted groups are:

Amey, Laing O'Rourke and Ferrovial Agroman;

Connect Plus (Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Atkins and Egis Projects);

Flow (Vinci, Autoroutes Du Sud De La France, Laing Roads, Carillion, Costain, Ringway, Mouchel Parkman, Norwest Holst and Jacobs).

Circulon (Fluor and Transurban) and Macquarie Motorway Group have been dropped.

The project is a single DBFO contract. The successful bidder will be responsible for the phased widening of 100km of the M25 to four lanes in each direction between 2008 and 2016 (see map).

Widening works will be suspended while the 2012 Olympic Games is under way and are estimated at between £1.5bn and £2bn.

The winning consortium will also have a 30 year maintenance contract worth around £100M a year.

'The winning tender will be a combination of a good innovative solution for the capital expenditure and maintenance over a 30-year period, ' said Agency procurement director Steve Rowsell.

The construction period is important, but is only eight years out of 30.' he shortlisted consortia have until Autumn next year to submit detailed tenders.

These will include a detailed pricing structure for the first phase of widening, valued at around £750M. The Agency wants bidders to improve on indicative designs already made available to them.

In the operation and maintenance phase, the payments will be based on carriageway availability.

The consortium will also be assessed on its ability to deliver reliable journey times, agreed asset conditions, road safety and customer satisfaction.

The final phase of tendering for this PFI contract is due to start early in 2007 and the contract is expected to be awarded in 2008. Work could start in early 2009.

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