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Balfour Beatty/Skanska JV awarded £321m M25 contract

Balfour Beatty and Skanska have been awarded a £321 million design and construction contract to upgrade sections of the M25 by the Highways Agency.

A 50:50 joint venture between the two firms will build the infrastructure for Managed Motorways on 46km of the M25 in two sections between junctions 5 to 7 and junctions 23 to 27 through Kent, Surrey, Essex and Hertfordshire. The work falls under the Connect Plus design, build, finance, and operate contract which is responsible for the M25 and strategic arterial routes.

Work will include the upgrade of the central reservation to a concrete barrier to restrict the impact of incidents and reduce delays for motorists. The JV will also install road management technology including electronic matrix signs, CCTV cameras and emergency refuge areas for vehicles.

Managed Motorways add extra motorway capacity by converting the hard shoulder to a traffic lane and controlling traffic using variable speed limits. The method uses overhead gantries, lane specific signals and driver information signs.

Work on the 25 month contract will begin this month and is scheduled for completion by February 2015.

Managing director of civil engineering for Skanska UK Greg Craig said: “This contract is a natural progression for our Skanska Balfour Beatty joint venture, having successfully delivered ahead of schedule the £1 billion widening of the M25 in 2012”.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler said the contract “strengthens our position in the transportation arena, which is a core strategic sector for us globally”.

Balfour Beatty will bring sustainable initiatives to the project such as the re-use of materials and the application of new intelligence-based BIM techniques, including 3D laser scanning. These techniques were applied to the M25 Initial Upgrade Section of the design, build, finance, and operate contract which included the widening and upgrading of nearly 40 miles of the northern half of the M25.

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