Leading contractors from Austria, Germany, Spain and Sweden have been short-listed for a design, build, finance and maintain contract for the estimated $1.1-billion Silvertown highway tunnel in east London.

Work on the twin-drive tunnel could start in 2019 and end four years later, according to the transit authority, Transport for London. The secretary of state for Transport is expected to select a contractor for the project this fall, when the winning contractor will be named.

Spain-based Cintra Global will compete with Germany's Hochtief PPP Solutions GmbH and a joint venture of Sweden's Skanska and Austria-based Strabag. The successful bidder will earn available linked fees from Transport for London while taking no toll-revenue risk.

The proposed, roughly 1-kilometer-long Silvertown crossing is planned to head east, from close to the south portal of the existing, overused Blackwall tunnel on Greenwich Peninsula, then under the river to the north bank, near the Royal Docks. It is designed with twin 11.45-meter-dia bores, driven by TBMs.