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Norway seeks input to Rogfast contract strategy 09 Aug 2018

Patrick Reynolds for TunnelTalk

Talks with contractors are planned for this month (August 2018) by the roads authority of Norway, Statens Vegvesen (NPRA), to fine-tune the contract procurement strategy for delayed tenders of major lots on the Rogfast world-beating undersea road tunnel project, which is already in early construction.

Fig 1. Contract E02 calls for a network of tunnels under Kvitsøy Island
Fig 1. Contract E02 calls for a network of tunnels under Kvitsøy Island

The twin tube 26.7km long tunnel below the Bokna fjord near Stavanger, will be the longest undersea road link and one of the deepest, at almost 390m below sea level and its construction is coming within a hot construction market period in Norway and Europe. TunnelTalk learned this week that delayed tender calls are again rescheduled from late 2018 into 2019.

The three major lots for the undersea section for the project are yet to tender. Together these three contract packages total more than 55km of hard rock drill+blast excavation to create twin tube, two and three-lane highway tunnels (Fig 2).

Contract E03 Harestad

Nearest to Stavanger, the contract calls for 16km of twin tube excavation plus a ventilation shaft. Tennder call is now expected in Spring 2019.

Fig 2. Route of the mega Rogfast drill+blast undersea project
Fig 2. Route of the mega Rogfast drill+blast undersea project

Contract E02 Kvitsøy

The contract package involves a weaving network of 21km of tunnels below the island of Kvitsøy (Fig 1). The contract is the first of the three big contracts into procurement, as was always planned by NPRA, and the tender call is anticipated currently for late 2018.

Contract E04 Laupland

At the northern end of the fixed link, the lot calls for 19km of main twin tube highway tunnel excavation and its tender call is now expected over Winter 2019-2020.

Size and the challenging location are key elements in the project procurement planning NPRA and a further factor is the hot construction market in Norway and Scandinavia explained NPRA project spokesman Øyvind Ellingsen.

To help NPRA decide its procurement plan for the big three contracts, the roads authority has scheduled a market dialogue conference with contractors for 27 August in Oslo. It plans a general presentation and will then take one-to-one meetings with contractors to hear their views on contract strategy. The event is open to any and all contractors interested in the project and the tendering process.

Works start on Mekjarvik Lot for Rogfast
Works start on Mekjarvik Lot for Rogfast

The roads authority told TunnelTalk it is looking to take all geological risk on Rogfast and in that light, and in the hot construction market, it wants to hear views on key procurement issues that include:

  • competence requirements to pre-qualify
  • options to involve contractors in detailed design work
  • types of contract models
  • the number and size of lots
  • contract award criteria.

NPRA further explained to TunnelTalk that once the contract strategy is eventually selected, it will not be accepting offers presenting alternative designs or changes to its chosen tunnelling method. Specified after extensive technical and risk studies, NPRA is staying with both its choice of route and vertical alignment, and to excavate below the sea bed using the drill+blast method and extensive pre-injection grouting.

Early Rogfast excavations on Arsvågen Lot
Early Rogfast excavations on Arsvågen Lot
Arsvågen Lot has 4km of tunnels
Arsvågen Lot has 4km of tunnels

The roads authority said, in a general information, that contractors attending the August 27 market dialogue meeting will not gain competitive advantage from participating in the event when submitting bids subsequently.

Construction of Rogfast has been underway since late 2017 on two smaller lots:

Contract E011 Mekjarvik

Requiring a 700m long, single tube transportation tunnel at the southern end of the route, the contract was awarded to Betonmasthaehre as design-build contract. According to NPRA work on site started in June 2018.

Contract E013 Arsvågen

Involving 4km of single tube tunnelling at the north end of the route, contractor NCC Norge was reported as having excavated 600m by drill+blast. The contract was awarded in late 2017 on a design-build basis said NPRA.

In late 2017, when procurement was underway for the E013 Arsvågen and E011 Mekjarvik lots, NPRA had planned to soon-after start rolling out tender calls for the big lots. The first was to have been E02 Kvitsøy and for construction to start by mid-2018, by when the other two big lots were to be out to tender. The timetable however was pushed back as NPRA worked on its contract strategy in the busy construction market.

In early plans a few years ago, it had been anticipated Rogfast could be opened to traffic by 2024. As project development and approvals progressed over the last few years the planned opening has moved to 2025-26. With further extension of procurement underway for the big contracts, the tunnel opening is now seen firmly in 2026, TunnelTalk was told.

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