Sustainability key in €1.4bn UK road contract

Infrastructure specialist Balfour Beatty has been awarded a huge roadbuilding contract within the UK’s Lower Thames Crossing project.

Computer generated image of Lower Thames Crossing A13 junction. Image: Balfour Beatty

The deal, worth approximately €1.37 billion, will see the company construct more than 16km of roads to the north of the proposed river crossing, including a crucial connection with the M25 motorway that runs around London.

The scope of the contract, awarded by the UK’s National Highways agency, also includes the construction of 49 structures, including bridges and viaducts, many of which will be built offsite, using modular construction techniques.

Balfour Beatty said it plans to manufacture structures in a factory environment, reducing the requirement for material deliveries to the site and subsequently reducing the project’s carbon emissions.

Construction work should start in 2024, with completion expected between 2029 and 2030.

Aiding local businesses

At the peak of the construction phase, the contractor said it will directly employ around 2,000 workers, with some 150 of these to be apprentices, graduates and trainees.

The company will also establish training and upskilling programmes for staff and expects to spend in the region of €570 million with local business and supply chain partners.

Leo Quinn, group chief executive of Balfour Beatty, said, “The Lower Thames Crossing is a significant scheme - one that will stimulate local, regional and national economic growth, create employment opportunities and new, sustainable methods of construction for the future of our industry.

“Our deep domain knowledge and long-standing history in complex road construction, acquired through many years of successful delivery on behalf of National Highways, makes us ideally positioned to deliver this project to the highest standard.”

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