Despite the fact that National Highways keep trying to give the impression that it is all systems go with the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, especially with their actions regarding LTC contracts and tenders, the fact is, until such time as permission is granted (in the form of a made Development Consent Order (DCO) if permission is given, any construction would be illegal. It is our understanding that any construction contracts must be subject to permission being granted.
In this update we will attempt to keep record of details of the various contracts and tenders as we are able to find info.
LTC Spoil contract – Value: £43.6m
It seems there are two parts to the contract. The first being an enabling works contract to allow site preparation necessary to prepare the site and to carry out the spoil disposal services to take place prior to the DCO being granted (value up to c. £1m); and secondly a spoil disposal services contract.
It was announced in April and July 2021 that the contracts are to be awarded to Ingrebourne Valley Ltd, after a procurement process identified the firm as the only one with the necessary capabilities.
The questions are why are any contracts for this kind of work before DCO is granted, and where the spoil will be taken (if a DCO is granted and LTC goes ahead). Both are things we and others are very interested in, and are asking questions about.
There has been suggestion from locals that a planning application to Thurrock Council for Orsett Quarry could be linked to LTC spoil, but so far there has been no evidence of a direct connection. However, the spoil from LTC is stated within a planning application to Essex County Council for at site at Rivenhall End (near Witham). There is also the fact that NH are proposing to just dump as much spoil from the tunnelling as possible into the new ‘parks‘ either side of the river right next to the tunnel portals.
LTC tunnel contract – Value: 2.3bn
The shortlist for the £2.3bn LTC tunnel contract was announced in April 2021.
Dutch, Spanish and French owned construction companies have been shortlisted for the £2.3bn tunnel contract:
- BFV Joint Venture; comprising BAM Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and Vinci Construction Grands Projets, supported by Atkins, Tecnica y Proyectos (TYPSA) and Stantec
- Bouygues Murphy Joint Venture (BMJV); comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons, supported by Mott McDonald and Ove Arup & Partners
- Dragados-Hochtief Joint Venture (DH JV); comprising Dragados and Hochtief Infrastructure, (both part of Spain’s ACS Group).
In late April 2022, the companies were invited to enter into competitive dialogue with National Highways, which is the next stage in the contract tender process.
On the 7th December 2023 NH announced that Bouygues Travaux Publics – Murphy Joint Venture has been awarded the contract.
LTC roads contract – Value: £1.9bn
In March 2021 National Highways launched it’s search for contractors for the roads either side of the tunnel, with the combined value of £1.9bn.
On 22nd Sept 2021 NH announced the short listed contractors for the LTC roads contracts, who will now be invited to tender with NH:
The ‘Kent Roads’ package worth £600M covers the LTC from 1km south of the southern portal down to the M2/A2.
- BFV JV comprising of BAM Nuttall Limited, Ferrovial Construction (UK) Ltd and VINCI Construction Grands Projets
- Costain Limited
- Kier Eiffage (KEJV) comprising of Kier Highways Limited and Eiffage Génie Civil
- Skanska Construction UK Limited
On 18th July 2023 NH announced that Skanska had been named the preferred bidder for the Kent Roads contract for the proposed LTC, and strangely stated that the contract is now worth £450m. Considering the cost of everything, including the proposed LTC is rising dramatically, a drop from an estimated £600m down to £450m seems very questionable, to say the least.
NH/LTC also keep claiming that contractors will further reduce carbon emissions, yet when questioned on this aspect to the Skanska contract they were forced to admit that the £450m contract brings emissions to the level it has already stated to be current best practice. Just another example of greenwashing by NH/LTC.
Roads North of the Thames
The ‘Roads North’ package worth £1.3bn and covers the road from 1km north of the northern tunnel portal up to junction 29 on the M25.
- Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Ltd
- Kier Eiffage (KEJV) comprising of Kier Highways Limited and Eiffage Génie Civil
On 14th March 2022 NH announced that the short listed contractors detailed above had been invited to start working on their bids. They will also evidently be judged on their ability to strip carbon emissions out of the construction process.
On 23rd Jan 2023 NH announced that Balfour Beatty have been awarded the North of the Thames contract, subject to permission being granted. This presumptuous behaviour of awarding contracts despite permission not being granted is standard practice on projects like this. It was reported that Balfour Beatty had managed to shave £100m off bringing the value of the contract to £1.2bn. We wonder how that will sit since the two year delay on the start of construction has been announced, if permission is granted, which can only push costs higher.
LTC integration contract – Value: £162.5m
In Feb 2021 it was announced that American company, Jacobs had been awarded a £162.5M integration partner contract for work on the Lower Thames Crossing.
The role of Jacobs will be to act as a catalyst for collaboration between National Highways and the project’s three main works contracts. It will include programme management, stakeholder management and risk management to enable objectives for time, cost and quality to be met.
There have been concerns voiced over conflict of interest in regard to Jacobs, who have contracts worth hundreds of billions of pounds in the UK, working as both project manager and contractor – read more on that here.
Tilbury Overbridge – Value: £7m
New Civil Engineer have stated that on 1st September 2021, a £7M deal for professional services on Tilbury Overbridge – part of the Lower Thames Crossing – is scheduled to enter procurement phase.
Commercial Partner contract – Value: £23.3m
In October 2021 it was announced that Turner & Townsend have been awarded the £23.3m Commercial Partner contract. The contract is reported to be an eight-year contract that will see Turner & Townsend work as part of National Highways integrated client team providing day-to-day commercial and contract management, independent cost assurance and cost audit function across the Lower Thames Crossing programme (if it goes ahead!).
Specialist Security Services contracts – Values: £900k and £90m
We have learnt that in June 2021 National Highways confirmed a contract for Specialist Security Services which according to the associated notice was needed urgently to ensure oversight of locations that have seen criminal and trespass activity taking place during earlier stages of the programme. And are considered high-risk due to their locations within the Programme red line boundary.
It went on to say:
This notice is being published under a Negotiated procedure without prior publication (in accordance with Article 32 of Directive 2014/24/EU). The Authority considers that there are grounds to award a contract directly to Control Risks under Regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (“PCR”) on the basis that the immediate urgency is not of Highways England’s making – it is only now aware of an imminent threat of protestor action. The immediate urgency therefore requires a contract in place more quickly than a regulated competitive procurement would allow for.
We are certainly not aware of any protestor action in regard to LTC, and wonder exactly what all this is about.
Advanced notice of another longer specialist security service contract with a value of £90m was announced at the end of Sept 2021, and the contract is planned to go to market (advertised) on 22 Nov 2021.
New Civil Engineer (Dec 2021) – LTC main contracts will be awarded next year despite planning delays
Thurrock Nub News – LTC Spoil contract – click here
New Civil Engineer – LTC tunnel contract – click here
New Civil Engineer – LTC roads contract – click here
New Civil Engineer – LTC integration contract – click here
New Civil Engineer – LTC Commercial Partner contract – click here
LTC Road to Net Zero – Construction industry summit – click here