The 3.2km long $128M North Downs Tunnel in Kent forms part of Section 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. The tunnel, constructed beneath Bluebell Hill with up to 100m of cover through upper, middle and lower chalk, is a 13m wide, 10m high single bore and was tendered and let under the spirit of partnering. Value engineering workshops undertaken with the project manager/ contractor identified substantial realistic savings. With an unpresidented saftey record the project was completed six months ahead of schedule.

Judging Panel’s Comments: The award goes to a project managed through the ECC/C Contract combined with the partnering approach. It was successfully completed six months early, yielded several millions of pounds as a saving shared by all parties, and must be seen by many as a model way of carrying out the contracting business. In view of this contract’s critical position in the overall project’s completion it was absolutely necessary for all parties of the partnering process to jointly carry out value engineering on-site resulting in a reduction of the primary shotcrete lining thickness, the removal of reinforcement from the secondary lining and a general slimming down of the tunnel invert. The judges believe that this demonstration of teamwork through genuine partnering has been the main factor leading to the major success of this contract and the Committee applauds the result.