The scheme, which has been procured under Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) will see Birse Civils undertake the 'stage 1' contract for the NDR, assisting with the detailed development of the scheme, including the planning application, statutory orders and public enquiry.
The scheme has a chequered history. In 2007, the council looked set to hand the deal to May Gurney because it feared few firms would want to pitch for it.
But the council was subsequently forced to put the project out to tender after warnings from the Department for Transport that Norfolk could fall foul of European tendering laws.ADVERTISEMENT
Preliminary works on site starting in autumn 2010. But the scheme will first have to survive a public inquiry, which is scheduled for October 2009.
A total of ВЈ79.7m in funding has been made available from the Regional Funding Allocation (RFA). The money will be spread over four years, with ВЈ3.2m available in 2012/13, ВЈ26.8m in 2013/14, ВЈ48.7m in 2014/15 and ВЈ1m in 2015/16.
Adrian Gunson, cabinet member for planning & transportation at Norfolk County Council, said: "I am delighted we have been able to award this contract. This is the most significant transport project ever promoted by Norfolk County Council and we received high-quality bids from companies with an excellent track record in major construction projects. In the end, in a very competitive field, Birse Civils came out top in terms of the overall evaluation.
"Birse were able to show considerable experience nationally in the development and construction of major schemes, and they understand the importance the County Council places on involving local communities. The County Council has also emphasised the importance of local people and businesses benefiting from the construction of the NDR and I welcome Birse's commitment to using local people, suppliers and sub-contractors wherever possible.
"This contract award is another major step towards implementation of the NDR and the next phase of the transport strategy for Norwich. If Government funding for the Postwick Hub is confirmed next month, construction could begin as early as October this year."
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