Crossrail awards remaining tunnelling contracts worth £225m

Posted: 7 April 2011 | | No comments yet

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

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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 new railway will boost London’s rail-based capacity by 10 per cent, delivering new journey opportunities, faster journey times and up to 24 trains per hour between Paddington and Whitechapel during the peak.

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. With all the tunnelling contracts now let and work underway at all central London station sites, Crossrail has now passed the point of no return and would be extremely difficult and expensive to stop. Further delivery contracts worth in the region of £1.5bn will be awarded during 2011 including main construction contracts for new Crossrail stations in central London.

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.

Both Bechtel and Transcend will continue to play leading roles in the delivery of Crossrail.

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.”

Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “Letting the final tunnelling contracts is a massive milestone. Crossrail will transform journeys for thousands of passengers in London, support the UK economy and generate up to 14,000 jobs at the peak of construction.”

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.”

The two remaining tunnelling contract awards are as follows:

C310 – Thames Tunnel construction (Plumstead to North Woolwich)

  • Joint Venture comprising: Hochtief Construction AG, J Murphy & Sons Ltd.

C315 – Connaught Tunnel refurbishment

  • Vinci Construction UK Ltd;

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 Tunnel Portals

Crossrail today 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 award is as follows:

C350 – Pudding Mill Lane Portal construction

  • 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.

The Western and Eastern running tunnels will have tunnel portals at Royal Oak, Pudding Mill Lane and Victoria Dock. The Thames Tunnel between North Woolwich and Plumstead will have tunnel portals constructed at either end in advance of the main tunnelling works. Construction of the first tunnel portal at Royal Oak got underway in January 2010.

The North Woolwich Portal and Plumstead Portal is included as part of main works for the C310 Thames Tunnel contract. The Victoria Dock Tunnel Portal construction contract will be awarded later this year.

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