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Highways England awards groundbreaking contracts to deliver major upgrades

Highways England awards groundbreaking contracts to deliver major upgrades.

The first in a series of contracts with supply chain partners to carry out up to £8.7bn of work on England’s motorways and major A-roads have been signed. 

Highways England has signed a £61.4m contract with supply chain partner Geoffrey Osborne Ltd to deliver a major upgrade that will transform a bottleneck on the A46 in Coventry. And, in the south east, a £52.4m contract has been awarded to VolkerFitzpatrick to deliver a series of improvements along the A27 near Lewes in East Sussex.

As part of the government’s Road Investment Strategy, Highways England is developing a scheme to improve the junctions along the A46, which includes the Binley and Walsgrave junctions, while on the A27 it will upgrade various junctions along a nine-mile section of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate, creating a new dual carriageway on a short section west of Polegate, with enhanced walking and cycling facilities along the whole stretch.

The contracts signed with Geoffrey Osborne Ltd and VolkerFitzpatrick represent the first two under a new industry-leading approach announced by Highways England last year, involving deals with 13 supply chain partners.

The deals have been set up using the Routes to Market Regional Delivery Partnership, which incentivises companies to improve safety and journeys on our roads. The 13 companies – known as Delivery Integration Partners (DIP) – are working on 18 packages of schemes, including the A46 and A27 projects.

Highways England major projects executive director Peter Mumford said: “These are the first of 13 companies that will be working with us to deliver these important road projects, safely, with our customers in mind and to the delivery plan. To achieve this we have worked hard to create alignment between Highways England and its supply chain, focusing on the behaviours that support us to achieve our shared goals. This is clear evidence that new ways of working are being embraced by the market, which is now seizing the opportunity to work in a more collaborative way with Highways England, representing a fundamental change in the way we deliver our road projects.”

The upgrade on the A46 is taking a phased approach and will progress with Binley junction (also known as the TGI Island) first, as it currently suffers from heavy congestion making journey times unreliable for drivers as well as for local traffic. The road is a strategic link between the East and West Midlands, connecting Coventry and Warwickshire to the motorway network.

The design will also include improvements to the existing footways and cycle paths. Construction will begin in spring 2020 and is expected to be completed by spring 2022.

Jamie Harrison, highways director at Geoffrey Osborne Ltd, said: “Being such an important strategic scheme for the Highways England network, we look forward to helping our partners make a success of the DIP framework. Winning this work sees us continuing to work with Highways England, who recognise and value the collaborative approach we bring.”

The A27 project will upgrade two junctions along a nine-mile section of the A27 between Lewes and Polegate, create a new dual carriageway on a short section of the Polegate Bypass and enhance walking, cycling and equestrian facilities along the whole stretch.

Stuart Ayres, VolkerFitzpatrick’s framework partnership director for the DIP Framework, said: “This marks the start of a new collaborative approach to strategic delivery on the roads network and continues the strong working relationship between VolkerFitzpatrick and Highways England.”

Work on the A27 upgrade is expected to start next spring.