National Highways awards £1.34bn Lower Thames Crossing contract

National Highways has awarded Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons a £1.34 billion (€1.5 billion) contract to construct the ‘largest bored tunnels in the country’.

The contract also includes the tunnel systems, portal buildings and approach roads (Photo: National Highways)

The £9 billion (€10.5 billion) Lower Thames Crossing contract for tunnel boring is the final major award for the road link between Kent and Essex.

The contract also includes the tunnel systems, portal buildings and approach roads.  

BMJV is a joint venture comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics SAS and J Murphy & Sons, supported by consulting engineers Mott McDonald and Ove Arup & Partners. 

In June 2023, the Planning Inspectorate initiated a six-month phase of a thorough examination of National Highways’ application for a development consent order. If the consent is granted, and both the current and the following governments support the project, construction could commence in 2026.

Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing executive director, said, “This contract award completes a world class team that has carbon reduction, community and value at its heart. By bringing the team together at an early stage we can focus on driving out carbon, delivering the best possible value for money and maximising the huge benefits the project will deliver nationally, regionally and locally.

“Bouygues Travaux Publics – Murphy JV and all of our delivery partners are fully bought into our passion for delivering a green-skills legacy and share our ambition to use the Lower Thames Crossing as a catalyst to change the whole construction industry’s attitude and approach to carbon reduction.”

The Tunnels and Approaches contract involves the design and construction of two road tunnels beneath the River Thames. These tunnels will span 2.6 miles, making them the longest in the UK. The tunnels will be over 16 metres wide and will allow for three lanes of traffic to pass through.

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