Orlovsky Tunnel bidding

9 February 2010

St. Petersburg’s City Hall will reopen tender for the city’s 47.7bn ruble (US$1.6bn) Orlovsky tunnel in February.

The tender commission will start examining bids for the construction and operation of the tunnel, with officials planning to select a private partner for the project in April.

The 1km tunnel will run underneath the river Neva between the Smolnaya and Sverdlovskaya embankments. The city budget, the federal investment fund and a private partner will finance it equally.

The original estimate of 26.4bn rubles (US$865M) in 2007 almost doubled last April to today’s expected cost.

A preliminary screening for applicants was held at the end of 2007. Nevsky Concessionary Company (a daughter company of Vinci;) Nevsky Tunnel (a consortium of Strabag, Zublin, Egis and Basic Element;) Bouyguesproject Operating (a daughter company of Bouygues;) and Neva Traverse (a consortium of Hochtief and Boskalis) passed the first round.

Government officials planned to select a partner by July 2008 and expected to open the tunnel by 2013, but the selection process was hampered by delays. The federal government officially put back the tunnel’s completion deadline last April to 2015 after St. Petersburg’s deputy governor Yury Molchanov announced that the city budget and federal investment fund would not be able to finance the tunnel’s construction until 2011 at the earliest.

St. Petersburg investment and strategic projects committee chairman Alexei Chickanov said in a statement that there will be several new bids and that the city will find the necessary funds for the tunnel despite the economic crisis.