The Merseylink Consortium is preferred bidder for the £600 million Mersey Gateway road and tunnel project with a design featuring a reinforced concrete deck cast in-situ that is expected to save “tens of millions of pounds”.
The consortium beat bids from a Balfour Beatty/Bouygues team and the MGL grouping of Galliford Try, Hochtief and Iridium of Spain.
Merseylink’s equity partners are Bilfinger Berger of Germany, FCC of Spain and Macquarie. FCC is also part of the construction team along with Kier and Samsung.
The Mersey Gateway Group led by Halton Borough Council had been in competitive dialogue with the three bidders since spring 2012 and was originally expected to name its preferred bidder last December.
Mersey Gateway project director Steve Nicholson said: “The outcome of procurement demonstrates the value in allowing private sector to modify the design in order to reduce costs. We now have a very attractive final offer from Merseylink, which means that we don’t need all the money we originally requested from Government.”
Once financial close has been reached, a start on site could be made by the end of this year.
The winning bid will retain the three tower design. A team of consultants led by Flint & Neill and also including URS and two Spanish companies, Eptisa and Fehcor, had already been appointed.
Under the terms of the contract, the winning bidder must fund the £594 million cost of building the bridge plus the associated structures and road improvements and then manage the toll-crossing for the next 26 and a half years.