The Garden Bridge project across the River Thames has advanced with the selection of a building contractor, despite stiff opposition to the project.

Two construction firms, Bouygues Travaux Publics and Cimolai, have been jointly chosen to construct the bridge.

The project was conceived by actress Joanna Lumley and has been designed by Thomas Heatherwick, reported Dezeen.

Construction of Garden Bridge will commence this summer and is to be completed by late 2018.

"The Garden Bridge is a reality … we are on course with our fundraising targets, we are meeting the requirements of our planning conditions."

The project has been facing stiff opposition due to funding concerns. Additionally, there have been allegations that Heatherwick has been favoured during the procurement process.

The bridge will seem like a garden floating across the River Thames once constructed and is to be 367m-long.

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It will come up across the river between the South Bank and Temple.

The project is estimated to cost £175m, of which £115m would come from private donations. Approximately £60m would come from public sources.

Garden Bridge Trust chairman Lord Mervyn Davies was quoted by as saying: "The Garden Bridge is a reality. We are on course with our fundraising targets, we are meeting the requirements of our planning conditions.

"We have huge public support for the project and we look forward to working with Bouygues TP and Cimolai and all our partners to make this a special place to be enjoyed by Londoners and visitors in the heart of the city for years to come."