UK: Transport Scotland was forced to abandon plans to award a 30-year concession to design, build, finance and maintain a reinstated 56 km line from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, after the second of three prequalified bidders dropped out in the face of uncertain construction risks. This meant the hoped-for element of market testing had been lost.
The project will now be managed directly by Transport Scotland, working with Network Rail which is able to call upon its established contractors. The project is estimated to cost up to £295m, and as the successful bidder was not due to be announced until next year, opening is still planned for December 2014, according to Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown.
‘We have amply demonstrated our ongoing commitment to the project with the investment of £60m already, which has secured the necessary land for the scheme and progressed a programme of ancillary works which is nearing completion’, Brown pointed out. He is confident that NR can ‘deliver the project within budget and with significant ongoing savings to the public purse.’