Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) has received bids from four firms to design a road tunnel costing at least AED1bn ($272m).

The new tunnel will start at the Abu Dhabi Island end of Saadiyat bridge and will run for 3 kilometres to Abu Dhabi Corniche. The tunnel will end here and the road will exit above ground, into Salam Street.

The bidders are US-based firms Aecom and Parsons International, and UK-based firms Halcrow and WSP.

The new tunnel will be a cut-and-cover tunnel rather than a bored one. Cut-and-cover tunnels are built by excavating a channel, building the tunnel floors and walls, and then covering over the structure.

Contractors are already digging up Salam street to create a tunnel running the length of the street. The new tunnel will potentially help reduce traffic congestion in the area.

As part of the design contract, the winning firm will decide whether the Saadiyat bridge-Abu Dhabi Corniche tunnel will have a separate exit to the Salam Street tunnel.

Abu Dhabi Municipality awarded the AED3.2bn ($871m) contract to build the 2.2 kilometre-long Salam street tunnel to South Korea’s Samsung Corporation in a joint venture with the UAE’s Saif bin Darwish in March 2008 (MEED 20:3:08).

TDIC’s planned tunnel is part of a new road link connecting Saadiyat Island, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi Corniche, and Shahama close to Abu Dhabi International airport. US-based Parsons was the consultant and TDIC the client.