Bechtel, Halcrow and SYSTRA have been announced as the main contractors for the UK’s £16bn Crossrail project.

Scheduled for 2017, Crossrail will bring an additional 1.5 million people within a 60min commuting distance of London’s key business districts.

The contractors will be responsible for managing the delivery of the central London tunnel from west London, through Paddington, and branching to the north and south of Whitechapel in the east.

This will involve the construction of a 21km twin-bore tunnel under the centre of London, six new stations, and the integration of Crossrail with the city’s existing transport systems.

Bechtel senior-vice president Cliff Mumm said that Crossrail was one of the most important and exciting construction projects in the world.

“Our proven, tried, and tested team will bring complementary skills to the project: Bechtel are leaders in project management, Halcrow is a multi-disciplinary consultancy offering rail and tunnelling experience, and Systra is a world leader in railway systems, bringing technical expertise proven on the Paris RER network,” Mumm said.

Preparatory works will continue throughout 2009. The main Crossrail construction starts in 2010. Crossrail is scheduled to open for service in 2017. Crossrail is promoted by Crossrail Limited (CRL). CRL became a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London on 5 December 2008.

By Daniel Garrun