The Mersey Gateway Project has received final tenders from all three shortlisted bidders competing to deliver the project on behalf of Halton Borough Council.
The full and final tenders were delivered to the project’s offices overlooking the River Mersey today ahead of the 12 noon deadline. The project team and its expert advisors will now spend the next few weeks assessing the three bids against a set of detailed criteria that focuses on both quality and value for money.
The bidding teams have spent the last 18 months working on their plans to become Halton Borough Council’s private sector partner that will act as the ‘project company’ by winning a 30-year contract to design, build, finance and operate a new toll bridge over the River Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes, together with associated work in the towns.
An announcement about the identity of the preferred bidder is due in June. This means the project team remains on track to sign a contract and begin construction work by late 2013/early 2014.
The project will be one of the largest infrastructure initiatives in the UK over the coming years. Earlier this year Mersey Gateway was identified as one of the UK government’s Top 40 priority projects in the National Infrastructure Plan and it has been recognised by KPMG as one of the ‘Top 100 infrastructure projects around the globe’.
Its centrepiece is a new six-lane toll bridge over the River Mersey. The existing Silver Jubilee Bridge will also be tolled as part of the project, which is expected to help create thousands of new jobs, secure inward investment to the area and deliver important regeneration benefits.
The value of the construction phase of the project, including land, is estimated at £600 million. The total project costs/revenues over the next 30 years will be around £2 billion. Further detail about the detailed schedule of works will be published after the appointment of the preferred bidder.
Cllr Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said, “The council has been convinced throughout the development of this project that we could put together a commercial package that would be attractive to potential partners and would deliver a fair deal for the public purse. The fact that we have three complete bids on the table shows we are now well on the way to delivering that.”
Steve Nicholson, Project Director for the Mersey Gateway Project, said, “I’d like to thank all three bidding teams and my colleagues working on behalf of Halton Borough Council for their hard work and attention to detail over the last 18 months. The next few weeks will be spent looking very closely at every detail of the three separate proposals and we will be focusing on quality and value for money to ensure we get the best deal for Halton and the public purse.”