Edinburgh City council has shortlisted four bidders for a £90m infrastructure and systems contract on the project to extend its tram network to Leith and Newhaven.
The council described the move as ‘another key milestone’ towards completion of the final business case for the project, which is currently estimated to cost around £165m.
The shortlisted bidders, who will be invited to tender for the contract in mid-April, are: BAM Colas Rail JV; Dragados; Farrans Sacyr Neopul JV; and Sisk Steconfer JV.
The council’s transport convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: ‘When the Outline Business Case [OBC] was approved by Council in September 2017 we pledged to test the OBC with a robust procurement process before reporting back with the Final Business Case.
‘Our project team - the same team who successfully delivered the tram to York Place following mediation - has worked very closely with the market over the past 18 months, developing a contract strategy that meets market expectations and the requirements of the council.’
‘We were very pleased with the significant level of interest from local, national and international bidders and this process has resulted in a strong shortlist of experienced design and build contractors as we move on to the tender stage.’
The contract includes the design and construction of all track, overhead line, tram stops, systems infrastructure, road infrastructure and public realm between York Place and Newhaven.
Following the tender period, which is likely to last until late summer 2018, the council will update the Final Business Case and seek a Council decision in late 2018 as to whether the project should proceed to the next stage, namely construction.
If the project is given the go-ahead, it is expected that the contract will be signed in late 2018, with the new line due to become operational in 2022.
An Inquiry is continuing into why the existing tram network was delivered significantly over-budget and years later than planned.
The BBC reported that the man who was brought in to salvage the project in February 2011 as chairman of the delivery company Tie told the inquiry that he signed up to a poor deal.
Vic Emery said no-one thought the revised price was good value but he had to get an agreement to get the trams done.