Tier one contractors shortlisted for the Lower Thames Crossing roads packages have been told to start working on their bids.
National Highways has today formally begun the invitation to tender phase of procurement for its £1.9bn Lower Thames Crossing roads contractors.
The £1.9bn investment covers two contracts, one for roads north of the Thames in Essex and a second for roads south of the river in Kent. A third contract to build the tunnels themselves and the approach roads, worth £2.1bn, will be tendered in the coming weeks.
Contractors will be judged on their ability to strip carbon emissions out of the construction process, after the project was designated a pathfinder project to explore carbon neutral construction in the UK.
Contracts are due to be awarded in summer 2023, with construction planned for the following year.
The proposed Lower Thames Crossing includes the longest road tunnel in the UK and 23km of new road that would almost double road capacity across the River Thames east of London.
Shortlisted bidders have been invited to work up their bids, despite delays to the project’s development consent order (DCO) application.
National Highways – then Highways England – was forced to pull its original plans following feedback from the Planning Inspectorate in November 2020. It was then due to go in before the end of last year, but was held up after the government announced an expansion at the Port of Tilbury Forth Ports Limited which uses land original earmarked by National Highways for spoil.
National Highways now expects to resubmit its DCO application later this year, after holding a short consultation on construction changes enforced by the Port of Tilbury scheme.