The contract for the port tunnel, which is a design and build contract, was awarded in December 2000. The contract was awarded, excluding provision for price variation, in the sum of €448 million. At that time, when land acquisition, construction supervision etc. were included, it was anticipated that the all-in cost, including construction, would be in the region of €580 million. The construction period will extend to mid-2005 and allowing for the operation of the price variation clause over that five year period, it is currently estimated that the final out-turn cost, including price variation, will be in the region of €715 million — current prices. The cost increase between the all-in cost at 2001 prices and the all-in cost prices in 2004 is attributable to the price variation clause which takes account of construction cost inflation over the period concerned including both the costs of labour and materials.
The position on the height of the tunnel is that my Department engaged Atkins to review the feasibility, safety implications and cost of raising the height of the Dublin Port tunnel. They were requested to review a range of options for increasing the operational height of the tunnel, their feasibility, having regard to the state of implementation of the current design and build contract, and the likely additional costs and impact on the project completion date.
The final report was received from Atkins on 8 December 2003. I am currently reviewing the findings of the report and have sought further information from the NRA pertaining to its conclusions.