A £292m package of work on Highways England’s A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement project has been awarded to a Balfour Beatty Carillion joint venture.
The initial contract for the pre-construction phase is worth around £460,000, and subject to statutory approval the joint venture will ultimately deliver the full £292m of construction work.
This is the third package of work awarded on the £1.5bn project, which will stretch over 25 miles along the key freight route and include a major new bypass south of Huntingdon, widening the Cambridge Northern Bypass, widening a section of the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury and demolition of the A14 viaduct at Huntingdon.
Today’s contract was awarded under the Collaborative Delivery Framework (CDF) and covers the widening of a 10-mile stretch of the A14 between Swavesey and Milton.
A plan of the A14 work
It was initially supposed to have been awarded three months ago, however Highways England complained that the bids were not up to standard.
Speaking to Transport Network, Chris Taylor, director for complex infrastructure at Highways England, who is leading the A14 improvement, said previously there were safety concerns regarding the future maintenance of the road.
‘We weren’t convinced that the bidders were able to develop a solution that reduced the safety risk for those who had to maintain the road in future,’ he said.
Mr Taylor conceded that while there had been little material change to the bids the winning venture put together ‘a really compelling methodology, together with individuals and evidence of experience’ of driving the safety agenda.
Highways England also stressed that it wanted, and was granted, the ‘explicit commitment there in the tender document, that these things will get the proper attention’.
Julian Lamb Balfour Beatty Carillion Joint Venture project lead said: ‘We are pleased to have been selected to deliver this complex project which will provide an important upgrade to a key part of the UK’s road network and provide an important boost to the regional and national economy.
‘The ability of the joint venture partners to work as part of an integrated delivery model will be crucial in successfully carrying out this work.’
Two other major contracts on the A14 project for widening the A1 and building the new Huntington bypass, worth a combined total of £598m, were awarded to a Costain/Skanska joint venture.
A single detailed design contract worth £35.3m has been awarded to Atkins CH2M for the A14 project.
And a fourth package for the demolition of the viaduct over the East Coast Mainline at Huntingdon and associated works will be awarded in 2019.
The A14 project has yet to be given permission to start construction. A planning application was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate on 31 December 2014 and is currently in the examination phase, which started on 14 May 2015 and will last for six months.
A report will then be compiled by the Planning Inspectorate and submitted to the Secretary of State for a decision. Main construction work is scheduled to start in late 2016 with the new bypass and widened A14 open to traffic in 2020.