A trio of bid teams have been confirmed as making it through to the next stage of the bidding process to construct the Crossrail scheme in London.

A Costain/Skanska joint venture will now fight it out with Dragados SA and a Morgan Sindall BeMo Tunnelling joint team to win the right to handle the major project.

Miles Ashley, London Underground's programme director of Crossrail and Stations, explained that one of the three bid teams will handle the £55 million project of building the tunnel link between Crossrail platforms and Bakerloo Line platforms at London’s Paddington Station.

He explained this stage is “essential to support the increase in passengers when Crossrail starts serving the station at the end of 2018”.

Mr Ashley added: “The next stage of the process is to invite the three shortlisted contractors to engage in the Innovative Contractor Engagement procurement model, which we successfully used on the Bank Station upgrade contract this summer, where the bids are assessed on the added value of their proposal, rather than on lowest cost.”

The design of the Crossrail stations was criticised recently by Richard Rogers, who was the architect behind iconic buildings such as Paris's Pompidou Centre and Heathrow's Terminal 5.

Speaking to Building magazine, he claimed the Crossrail stations ought to be treated in the same way as the early London Underground stations, adding: “These are important public buildings which millions will travel through. There has to be somebody who knows something about design looking at this. This is serious, because [poor design] could scar a community that uses a station for a century or so."

The Crossrail scheme has moved a step closer with the selection of three bid teams, with the link expected to be completed by the autumn of 2018.

Once the line is open, a high frequency, high capacity service will run to 38 stations linking Maidenhead and Heathrow in the west of the capital to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east of the city. Estimates suggest that around 200 million passengers will travel on Crossrail each year.

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