UK’s M25 contract to Balfour Beatty and Skanska

By Sandy Guthrie07 January 2013

A £321 million (€395 million) design and construction contract to upgrade sections of the M25 London orbital motorway has been awarded by the UK’s Highways Agency to a joint venture consisting of Balfour Beatty and Skanska UK.

Working as part of the Connect Plus design, build, finance and operate (DBFO) contract which is responsible for the M25 and strategic arterial routes, a 50:50 Balfour Beatty and Skanska joint venture will be responsible for constructing the infrastructure for managed motorways on 46km of the M25. This will be in two sections between junctions 5 and 7, and junctions 23 and 27, running through the counties of Kent, Surrey, Essex and Hertfordshire.

Balfour Beatty said that managed motorways added extra capacity by converting the hard shoulder to a traffic lane, and controlling traffic more effectively using variable speed limits. It described it as a technology-driven approach to motorway management, using overhead gantries, lane specific signals and driver information signs.

This scheme includes the upgrade of the central reservation to a concrete barrier to try to restrict the impact of incidents and reduce delays for motorists. There will also be the installation of road management technology including electronic matrix signs, CCTV cameras and emergency refuge areas for vehicles.

Work on the 25-month contract will begin in January this year, and is scheduled for completion by February 2015.

Balfour Beatty said it would bring skills and sustainable initiatives such as the re-use of materials and the application of new intelligence-based building information modelling (BIM) techniques, including 3D laser scanning.

It added that these techniques were applied to the M25 Initial Upgrade Section of the DBFO contract – which included the widening and upgrading of nearly 65km of the northern half of the M25 – completed seven weeks ahead of schedule in 2012.

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