Crossrail awards £1.25bn tunnel jobs

Aaron Morby 14 years ago

Crossrail has awarded contracts for the main project tunnel drives and four big stations.

The contracts, worth in the region of £1.25bn, rank as the most significant tunnelling work to be awarded since the Jubilee Line Extension and Channel Tunnel Rail Link and will provide a much-needed boost to UK construction.

A joint venture of BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK), Kier Construction picks up the big honours with one of the main tunnel drive packages plus the Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street station contract, together worth £500m.

Irish contractor John Sisk’s decision to team up with Spanish construction giant Dragados proved inspired as they pick up the biggest TBM tunnel drive, worth £500m.

Balfour Beatty, Morgan Sindall, Vinci and Austrian tunnelling expert Alpine BeMo Tunnelling take the other main package worth £250m for Whitechapel and Liverpool Street stations.

The first tunnelling activity will now get underway in late 2011 and up to 14,000 people will be employed at the peak of construction between 2013 and 2015.

The contracts being awarded today are the first of nearly thirty major contracts that will be awarded by Crossrail over the next eighteen months.

A further series of tunnelling contracts will be awarded in 2011 including the Thames Tunnel between Plumstead and Woolwich and remaining contracts for tunnel portals and station platform tunnels.

Crossrail winners

    C300 – Western Running Tunnels (Royal Oak to Farringdon)

    BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK), Kier Construction

    C305 – Eastern Running Tunnels (Limmo Peninsula to Farringdon; Limmo Peninsula to Victoria Dock; Stepney Green to Pudding Mill Lane)

    Dragados, John Sisk & Son (Holdings)

    C410 – Early access shafts and sprayed concrete lining works for Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road stations tunnels

    BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Agroman (UK), Kier Construction

    C510 – Early access shafts and sprayed concrete lining works for Whitechapel and Liverpool Street stations tunnels

    Alpine BeMo Tunnelling, Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering, Morgan Sindall (Infrastructure), VINCI Construction Grands Projects.

Rob Holden, Crossrail chief executive said: “Significant competition in the construction industry for Crossrail work has delivered highly competitive bids.

“Over £1bn in savings to Crossrail’s construction costs have been identified to-date in part due to a more efficient construction timetable and these contract awards will help secure these savings.”

He added: “Crossrail will award a further series of tunnel construction contracts in 2011 including the new Thames Tunnel between North Woolwich and Plumstead.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the companies and consortia who participated in these tunnel bids.

“They each committed a huge amount of resource and we look forward to working with the winners to further develop their ideas with ours to deliver Crossrail in the most efficient and cost-effective way.”

In spring 2012, the first two tunnel boring machines will start on their journey from Royal Oak towards Farringdon.

This will be followed later in 2012 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.

Tunnelling teams will work around the clock to complete the tunnels for Europe’s largest infrastructure project with thousands of others employed to upgrade the existing rail network and build major new stations along the central section of the route.

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

Construction is also underway on the new Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy in east London.

The Academy will offer training to at least 3,500 people in underground construction alone over the lifetime of the project.

Currently the nearest tunnelling training centre is in Switzerland. The Academy will start to offer training in spring 2011 and the building will be fully open by summer 2011.
Tunnels and construction schedule:

A total of 21 km of twin-bore tunnel is required to be constructed for Crossrail.

The five tunnels to be constructed are:

  • Royal Oak to Farringdon west (Drive X) – length of drive 6.2 km
  • Limmo Peninsula in the Royal Docks to Farringdon east (Drive Y) – length of drive  8.3 km
  • Stepney Green to Pudding Mill Lane (Drive Z) – length of drive 2.7 km
  • Limmo Peninsula in the Royal Docks to Victoria Dock Portal (Drive G) – length of drive 0.9 km
  • Plumstead to North Woolwich (Drive H) – length of drive approximately 2.6 km

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