A consortium led by France-based Bouygues Construction has secured a €1.5 billion contract from Réseau Ferré de France to build, design, maintain and fund the Nimes and Montpellier railway bypass in France.
The consortium, known as OC'VIA, will include Colas, SPIE Batignolles, Alstom, Meridiam infrastructure and FIDEPPP.
Pursuant to the contract, the private partner, OC'VIA, is responsible for funding, designing, building and maintaining the line over a period of 25 years.
In return, it will receive public contributions from the local/regional authorities and RFF throughout the construction phase. Subsequently, when the line becomes operational, it will receive investment grants from the State and maintenance and renewal allowances from RFF.
The bypass will comprise 80km of new line, 60km of which will be high-speed line between Manduel (to the East of Nimes) and Lattes (to the West of Montpellier).
Preliminary work will start in 2012 with full construction getting underway towards the end of 2013. The line is expected to complete in 2017.
According to RFF the project will generate around 6 000 direct jobs during the five-year construction period, of which 7% will be reserved to provide an entry to professional careers for 'people with difficulties'.