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Preferred bidder names of Auckland water tunnel

New Zealand water company Watercare has named the Ghella-Abergeldie Harker joint venture as its preferred bidder for the construction of its Central Interceptor wastewater tunnel.

The 4.5m diameter, 13km long tunnel is the largest wastewater project ever undertaken in New Zealand and will connect the city of Auckland with a new pump station at the Māngere Wastewater Treatment.

Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram said: “This project will improve the health of our city’s waterways by reducing wet-weather overflows and provide for population growth. Not only that, its construction will create employment and opportunities for the city.

The Central Interceptor will address wet-weather overflows by collecting the wastewater and stormwater from these overflow points and transporting it to Māngere for treatment.

“It’s expected to reduce the volume of overflows by at least 80 per cent,” Jaduram said. “It also provides time for Auckland Council to install stormwater pipes in areas where there are none.”

The Ghella-Abergeldie Harker joint venture was one of four groups vying for the work. The other tenderers were CPB Contractors, Pacific Networks formed by McConnell Dowell, Fletcher Construction and Obayashi and the Vinci Joint Venture made up of Vinci Grands Projets, HEB Construction and Soletanche Bachy.

Bids were submitted in mid-September and Watercare has said it undertook a rigorous review process. It said that the Ghella-Abergeldie Harker joint venture bid represents the best overall value for Auckland.

Jaduram added: “Over the next two months, we will continue our due diligence, working with the joint venture on a range of conditions and issues relating to their bid.

“If the conditions and issues can be successfully worked through, the Central Interceptor team will take a recommendation to our board of directors in the first quarter of 2019.

“If the conditions and issues cannot be successfully worked through, then we will start liaising with the second bidder – who cannot be named at this stage.

“We have run a thorough procurement process that involved prequalifying the contractors through the expression of interest stage and interacting with them during the request for proposal stage.

“Often when a company undertakes a project of this size, they tender for design and build. By contrast, we have already completed the detailed design. This means all four contractors have a very clear understanding of our project and as a result, there is better pricing and less risk for both Watercare and the contractors.”

Construction is expected to start in 2019 and be completed by 2025.

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