Three contractors have been shortlisted to build the controversial £175M Thames Garden Bridge after it received final planning approval this morning.
Bam Nuttall is the only British company vying to construct the 6,000m2 river crossing, to be sited between Blackfriars and Waterloo Bridges in the heart of London.
Spanish giant Dragados is also competing for the right to build the Thomas Heatherwick-designed bridge, which was approved by London mayor Boris Johnson.
The shortlist drawn up by project promoter the Garden Bridge Trust is completed by a joint venture of French firm Bouygues and Italian company Cimolai.
Garden Bridge Trust vice-chair Paul Morrell said: “The Garden Bridge will showcase the best of UK design, engineering and landscape talent. “We have given careful consideration to the experience of all those who submitted proposals and believe this list is a good selection of potential partners. It will be a great bridge for a great city.”
The Trust is still £65M short of the funding it needs to complete the project but intends to award the construction contract in the spring and begin work on site in the autumn.
Senior engineers last month questioned the cost of the bridge, while it also emerged that cyclists would have to dismount to cross it, and it will close at midnight.
Nevertheless, Johnson said today: “The Garden Bridge will provide a fantastic new landmark for London while supporting regeneration and economic growth on both sides of the Thames.
“It will create a stunning oasis of tranquillity in the heart of our city and boost our plans to encourage walking in the city.”
Garden Bridge Trust chairman Lord Mervyn Davies celebrated the decision, which comes after green lights from Lambeth and Westminster Councils.
“As well as being London’s newest and most imaginative green space, the Garden Bridge also brings wider benefits, such as reducing pedestrian journey times, creating a new route that avoids busy roads and providing jobs in construction and operations,” he said.
“There will also be dedicated education and volunteering opportunities. We are now looking forward to working with people to create a footbridge which adds to the capital’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, to become a celebrated part of London’s landscape.”
Already appointed to the scheme are engineer and technical specialist Arup and landscape designer Dan Pearson.