Crossrail awards remaining tunnelling contracts

Crossrail today announced its intention to award the remaining tunnel contracts for Europe’s largest construction project.

The two contracts for Thames Tunnel construction and Connaught Tunnel refurbishment are worth in the region of £225m and will deliver the construction of around 3km of twin-bored tunnel.

The Thames Tunnel construction’s preferred bidders are a joint venture comprising of Hochtief Construction AG and J Murphy & Sons Ltd.

Vinci Construction UK Ltd. has been selected for the Connaught Tunnel refurbishment.

Around 21km of twin-bore tunnel will be constructed for Crossrail in total. Tunnelling activity will commence in late 2011 with the first tunnel boring machine (TBM) starting out on its journey in spring 2012. The combined Crossrail tunnelling contracts are worth in the region of £1.5bn.

Over £2bn has been invested in Crossrail to-date with further contractual commitments being taken on every day.

To ensure that Crossrail is delivered as cost effectively and efficiently as possible, Crossrail has now implemented a new integrated delivery structure. This sees Crossrail Limited, Project Delivery Partner Bechtel and Programme Partner Transcend working together as one organisation to ensure there are no gaps, overlaps and that each job is only done once.

The new integrated structure also firmly places responsibility for construction progress along with the management of project risks that could affect delivery on our private sector contractors who are best able to deal with it. This increases the incentive for the private sector to deliver Crossrail on time and within budget.

Rob Holden, Crossrail Chief Executive said:

“Crossrail and our delivery partners Bechtel and Transcend have achieved significant progress to-date and together we are now gearing up for the intensive phase of construction that will commence with the start of main tunnelling next year. The award of the remaining tunnelling contracts is further evidence of the significant progress that Crossrail has made over the last year and shortly our tunnelling contractors will confirm the manufacturers for the tunnel boring machines needed to deliver Crossrail.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:

“Work on the juggernaut that is Crossrail is proceeding at pace. This crucial project that I fought for will be of huge importance to the future of our city and these contracts will provide an immediate boost to employment in the UK.”

As announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, a more efficient construction timetable means that Crossrail’s central section will now be delivered in 2018 rather than 2017.

It is expected that Crossrail services will commence on the central section by late 2018 followed by a phased introduction of services along the rest of the Crossrail route.

In spring 2012, the first two tunnel boring machines will start out on their journey from Royal Oak towards Farringdon. This will be followed by the launch of two further tunnel boring machines in Docklands that will head towards Farringdon under central London. Further shorter tunnel drives will take place in the Royal Docks and east London.

To construct the 21km of twin-bore tunnel required for Crossrail, at least seven tunnel boring machines will be used and will undertake ten individual tunnel drives to construct the 6m diameter tunnels. Each TBM will be up to 120m in length.

The TBMs will be purchased by the main tunnelling contractors from global manufacturers. There are no UK-based companies that manufacture TBMs. Crossrail will confirm the manufacturers who will build the Crossrail TBMs later this month.

Crossrail also announced its intention to award the main construction contract for Pudding Mill Lane Portal. Construction of the portal will get underway in mid-2011. The portal contract should be awarded to Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure) Limited.

Five new tunnel portals will be constructed as part of Crossrail at Royal Oak, Pudding Mill Lane, North Woolwich, Victoria Dock and Plumstead.

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