River Thames Scheme contractor search begins

The £501m River Thames flood alleviation scheme will support the local economy as it recovers from the pandemic.

The River Thames Scheme is starting the search for the firms which will build the £501m flood alleviation scheme, just weeks after the government gave the scheme the green light.

Today (28.7.21), the project team started the market engagement for contractors, with a call for interested firms to express their interest. The value of the contracts on offer will be up to £275m.  

The call for interest is a major opportunity not only for the civil engineering and construction sector, but also for small and medium businesses in Surrey and the surrounding area. Opportunities for new contracts, job opportunities and apprenticeships will support the sector and the area as they recover from the pandemic. 

The work involves the construction of two new flood relief channels constructed at Runnymede and Spelthorne, together with capacity increases at Sunbury, Molesey and Teddington weirs and the Desborough Cut. The scheme’s wider benefits will include new walking and cycle paths, parks and wildlife habitats.   

The start of market engagement comes after it was announced in June that the government had approved the outline business case for the scheme. The approval means engineers are now working on the detailed design of the scheme and planning how to deliver it. Although construction is not expected to start until the mid-2020s, the process of getting firms in place is lengthy, from procurement to enabling them to have the right teams and resources in place. 

River Thames Scheme project director David Bedlington said: “There is a real momentum building on the River Thames Scheme as we start the important task of getting firms in place to get the scheme built. We’re really hoping to see the best of the construction industry come forward for this opportunity – and not just the large firms, but SMEs and local firms too.”

Surrey County Council cabinet member for the environment Marisa Heath said: “When we talk about the brilliant legacy the River Thames Scheme will leave, we’re not only talking about the flood risk reduction and new green spaces such as country parks, we’re talking about a legacy of opportunity too, as the construction of the River Thames Scheme will see new jobs, training and skills.”

Click here to view the Find a Tender Prior Information Notice for the River Thames Scheme.

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