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Highways Agency widens A2 to six bidders

CONTRACTS KENT

THE HIGHWAYS Agency has lined up a surprise six rivals to price a £60 million road project in Kent.

Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Costain, Amec, Alfred McAlpine and Nuttall are all gearing up to bid for the second phase of the widening of the A2 between Bean and Cobham.

A Highways Agency source said: 'We are aware that it is one more wasted bid, but we decided that six was the right amount on this job to get a robust, valuefor-money tender.'

Contractors are concerned about the increased field for the scheme, with one describing it 'a retrograde step'.

The challengers pick up bid documents tomorrow (Friday) at a meeting with the agency and will have three months to price the deal.

The agency hopes that widening the heavily congested road to four lanes in each direction will improve traffic flow and safety.

The proposals involve a new off-line section of the A2 between the Pepperhill and Marling Cross junctions. The new 4.5 km route will be further away from residential areas than the existing A2, which would be broken up and landscaped.

A further 2 km phase will be built on the line of the current A2 between Marling Cross and Cobham junctions, to avoid damaging the Shorne and Ashenbank Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest.