São Paolo urban forest tunnels edge closer Jun 2012
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
Tendering for Brazil's largest ever road project is resuming after the Superior Court of Justice overturned an injunction granted to two of the country's leading construction companies that had been excluded from prequalification.
Pedra Branca forest to the north of São Paolo

Pedra Branca forest to the north of São Paolo

The Brazilian roads authority (Dersa) can now start evaluating bids from 17 consortia and 8 companies that successfully prequalified for construction of the northern section (Rodoanel Norte) of São Paolo's 177km Beltway (ring road). The alignment, at 44km long and with a short spur stretch to the city's airport, is divided into 6 lots and includes 7 tunnels totalling 7km in length.
The US$3.8 billion project, which secured the final US$1.2 billion of funding from the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) in Washington DC last week (June 14), has attracted international interest with bids from companies representing IDB member countries Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina and Korea in addition to domestic construction companies.
The legal challenge that had derailed the prequalification process since expressions of interest were called in September last year (2011) was brought by Cetenco Engenharia SA and Contern Construction and Trade Ltd. They were excluded for "failing to meet financial, technical and operation requirements," said Dersa in a statement. The injunction was dismissed on June 14, and Dersa now expects to be in a position to announce the winning bids next month (July).
Dersa argued in court that allowing two companies to be able to participate in the tendering process under less stringent prequalification rules than competitors would put at risk funding from the IDB, which insists on strict procurement guidelines. The balance of the project's cost, which is significantly higher than the western, eastern and southern Beltway sections on account of the high level of tunnelling required and the environmental impact costs of designing a route through protected green belt land, is coming from São Paolo's regional government and the national government.
Fig 1. Northern Beltway alignment in green

Fig 1. Northern Beltway alignment in green

    The lots are:
  • Lot 1 - 6.4km including a tunnel of 1,150m.
  • Lot 2 - 4.8km including two tunnels of 350m and 850m.
  • Lot 3 - 3.6km including two tunnels of 1,650m and 1,070m.
  • Lot 4 - 9.1km with a tunnel of 290m.
  • Lot 5 - 7.9km including a tunnel of 1,087m.
  • Lot 6 - 12km with no tunnels.
The northern section of the Beltway is the most technically challenging of the four sections owing to the need for tunnelling on the western section of the alignment (Fig 1) under the internationally and UNESCO-recognised Atlantic forest region of Serra da Cantareira, which includes the Pedra Branca park. Design, environmental impact and compensation costs for this section of the alignment are estimated at nearly $US1 billion, over a quarter of the final cost.
The 32km western section of the Beltway was completed in October 2002, and the 61km southern stretch in April 2010. Construction of the 45km eastern section began in August last year (2011), with completion scheduled for 2014.

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