Stonehenge contractors in place while planning decision on hold


National Highways has announced that it has put ‘key contracts’ in place to deliver its scheme to build a tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge.

The planning application for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme is still awaiting redetermination by new transport secretary Anne Marie Trevelyan, following the quashing of her predecessor’s decision to grant a Development Consent Order.

Despite this, the scheme was listed in the Government’s recent Growth Plan as one that it intended to accelerate.

National Highways said that in the meantime, ‘to ensure programme timescales are maintained’, it has awarded its £60m Delivery Assurance Partner contract to Costain and Mott MacDonald.

The two infrastructure companies will provide technical and construction management expertise by helping mobilise the main works contractor, oversee construction, assist the discharge of consent requirements and assure the design.

Following its preferred bidder announcement earlier this year, the government-owned company has now signed a contract with MORE joint venture, comprising FCC Construcción, WeBuild and BeMo Tunnelling, to deliver the £1.25bn tunnel and main construction work.

This covers the construction of the proposed tunnel’s civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and technology components, including the tunnel boring machine, along with the approach roadworks and structures and the environmental components of the five-year construction phase.

Project director Derek Parody said: ‘The main works contract will only become live once the secretary of state has concluded the planning process.

‘The announcement in no way pre-empts any decision, and once that is finalised, and should the Development Consent Order be granted, having these contractors in place puts us in the strongest possible position to deliver this transformational scheme and deliver the benefits we know it can.’

He added: ‘Our Delivery Assurance Partner will help us to successfully co-ordinate and oversee the development of the scheme moving forward. This collaborative team will continue to work with local stakeholders, heritage bodies and local communities to deliver a successful and exceptional project for the area.’

Costain said it will work closely with Mott MacDonald, supply chain partners, road users and the local community ‘to implement efficient, practical solutions to the complex challenges the project presents’.

It added that its combined expertise will allow it to proactively manage risk and drive a right first-time approach, ‘leveraging technology and customer insights to drive efficiencies and inform best practice’.

Sue Kershaw, managing director for transportation, said: ’This award comes as a result of our strategy to bring together the whole range Costain’s capabilities to deliver for our customers and transform the performance of the UK’s infrastructure ecosystem. It demonstrates the calibre of Costain’s growing consultancy expertise and the value of our differentiated proposition in the market.’

Ken Norbury, transportation managing director at Mott MacDonald said: ‘We have assembled a world class multidisciplinary team to support the delivery of this vital upgrade project. We are proud to be chosen alongside Costain and look forward to working collaboratively with the project team.’

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