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13th May 2020
Despite all the disruption and site closures caused by the coronavirus outbreak, Highways England has reassured the industry that roads procurement on a swathe of major schemes is still progressing.
The Chancellor unveiled spending of £27.4 billion on roads projects over the next five years in his budget earlier this year and procurement continues on many schemes, which are tracked by Glenigan’s construction market research.
The roads procurement investment strategy includes schemes such as the £200 million M54 to M6 Toll Link Road (Glenigan Project ID: 90210685) and the £1.7 billion Stonehenge Tunnel scheme (Glenigan Project ID: 93148284).
Behind the scenes, schemes are still moving forward and this month, for example, the three consortia shortlisted for the Stonehenge Tunnel began a six-month period of dialogue with Highways England before submitting final tenders in the autumn.
To reassure the industry through the crisis, Malcolm Dare, executive director for Commercial & Procurement at Highways England, wrote to major companies saying: “I would also like to stress that all planned and on-going procurement activities are continuing and they will be published via normal channels.
“C-19 related challenges might result in delays to our normal approval times but I would like to re-emphasise that we are continuing to operate as close to business as usual as possible.”
Mr Dare highlighted the start of procurement on Highways England’s Operations Scheme Delivery Framework, which is expected to deliver spending of £3.6 billion over the next six years.
A Prior Information Notice has just been issued for the framework, which will feature 13 lots and starts operation as scheduled early next spring (Glenigan Project ID: 20165485). Companies interested in bidding for places on the framework must contact Highways England by April 30.
The government has also shortlisted 15 highways schemes to be taken forward for the next stage of development in the major road network and large local major funding rounds.
Prior to the budget, the government allocated £3.5 billion between 2020 and 2025 for these initiatives and schemes are still moving forward, such as the £250 million A12 Chelmsford to A120 widening scheme (Glenigan Project ID: 14433556). Main construction will not start until 2023 but Glenigan’s research shows ground investigation surveys began earlier this year.
Warwickshire County Council asked the Department of Transport for £17 million towards its estimated £40 million plan for work on the junction of the A426/A4071 Avon Mill/Hunters Lane (Glenigan Project ID: 20136160). This plan is proceeding to the next stage and although a start is unlikely until 2022, other schemes could begin on site sooner.
Depending on funding, procurement and the spread of the virus, projects such as a £30 million upgrade to the Army and Navy roundabout near the centre of Chelmsford on the A1060/A1114 (Glenigan Project ID: 20136159) could start on site this Autumn.
While many sites may be disrupted or in lockdown, behind the scenes many new roads schemes are still moving towards a start when the public health scenario allows.
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