Transport for London (TfL) has awarded a £1bn contract to BAM-led consortium RiverLinx to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Silvertown tunnel in east London, UK.

The consortium partners include Aberdeen Standard Investments, BAM PPP PGGM, Cintra, Macquarie Capital and SK E&C.

The selection of RiverLinx consortium follows a competitive bidding process, which started in March 2016. Subsequently, bidders were shortlisted in March 2017 while a final contract award took place last month.

TfL city planning director Alex Williams said: “The need for more river crossings in East London, to unlock growth and give residents and businesses better access to jobs and services, has been clear for decades.

“The Silvertown Tunnel, which is vital to support London’s economy, has been designed to resolve the existing congestion problem around Blackwall, improve overall air quality and enable new cross-river bus routes to be introduced.”

The design involves a 1.4km twin-bore road tunnel under the River Thames along with 600m of access ramps.

Work on the tunnel is expected to begin later this year. Once operational, the tunnel will connect south of the River Thames with the access to the existing Blackwall Tunnel and north of the River Thames with the Tidal Basin Roundabout in Silvertown.

The project is likely to generate around 286,000 new jobs by 2036.

“The need for more river crossings in east London has been clear for decades.”

The new tunnel is intended to dramatically improve cross-river public transport connections by providing a dedicated bus lane in both directions. Currently, there is only one cross-river bus link in east London due to the lack of suitable crossings.

Following completion, RiverLinx consortium will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the project for a period of 25 years.

Under the agreement, TfL will only start paying for the project once the tunnel is operational, limiting their financial exposure on this project.