A JV led by Bouygues Travaux Publics has been chosen as preferred bidder for the new Tyne road tunnel in north east England.

The contractor and client, the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority (TWPTA), are completing a pre-development agreement enabling site investigation to be performed before the 30-year concession is signed, due late August.

Under the concession, the winning JV will finance, design, build, maintain and operate the second vehicle tunnel below the River Tyne. The Bouygues-led JV includes High-Point Rendel, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Faber Maunsell, Able UK, Clancy Docwra, Wood Holmes, Hall Construction, Insite Environments, and Colas.

Site investigation works are being undertaken to allow the JV to execute detailed designs, seek the required licenses from environmental authorities, and place orders with utilities. Assuming the concession is signed as planned and the project reaches financial close late August, the ensuing schedule should see main works start in the first half of 2008, and the entire scheme be completed and opened in 2011.

On the sidelines remains the rival bidder, Connect North East led by Balfour Beatty, should agreement not be reached. The two bidders were the last of four by February 2006, the others having pulled out, and the final tenders were submitted in January.

Bouygues has just had success with another crossing tender, its JV winning the Port of Miami Tunnel concession. The proposed construction period is 47 months and on the tunnelling team is Jacobs Civil.