CH2M Arcadis preferred bidder for Lower Thames Crossing

A partnership of CH2M, Arcadis and Danish consultant Cowi has emerged as favourite to be named as Highways England's design partner for the £5bn Lower Thames Crossing. CH2M/Arcadis/Cowi has been up against Jacobs and Mott MacDonald/Ramboll and Arup/Atkins joint ventures in the bidding for the £250m project development contract.

Highways England said that it cannot yet confirm the appointment because the procurement process is ongoing, but industry sources from bidding firms have told Infrastructure Intelligence that the CH2M Arcadis consortium is likely to be named the HE's technical partner for the crossing.

The HE announced its selection of a two mile, twin-bored tunnel and preferred route for the Lower Thames Crossing in January this year as it launched a two month public consultation on options for connecting the tunnels to the motorway network in Essex and Kent. The tunnels will cross beneath the Thames between Tilbury and Gravesham 10 miles to the East of the existing Dartford Crossing. There are three variations for motorway routes from the M25 in Essex and two for linking to the A2 and M2 to the south.

As the HE's technical partner, following completion of the route consultation in March, CH2M/Arcadis/Cowi will develop the outline design for the preferred route and help the scheme towards development consent and assist with procurement of one or more of the project's main contracts. The HE is understood to be planning to invite international consortia to express interest in bidding for the principal tunneling and road construction contracts.

The HE has also confirmed that the Lower Thames Crossing will be tolled. Estuary crossings are tolled as matter of policy, it said, but the Lower Thames Crossing also has to be tolled to ensure parity with the alternative Dartford Crossing.

The £4bn-£6bn price tag for the new crossing is expected to be included in the Department for Transport's Roads Investment Strategy 2 programme currently being drawn up for the five year period from 2021-2026. The Crossing is expected to be completed in around 10 years time.





Well at least bits of ch2m and Arcadis are British. Nice to see the HA giving token support to British engineering. Query, are our continental friends' home markets as open and welcoming to bids by British firms as we are to theirs. I am happy to stand corrected but this EU single market thing seems particularly one directional.