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M25 £5bn deal progress

Balfour Beatty and Skanska have cemented their preferred bidder status for a £5 billion Design, Build, Finance and Operate deal to upgrade the M25 motorway around London.

The two firms are both part of the Connect consortium, along with Atkins and Egis Projects, which was announced by the Highways Agency as provisional preferred bidder for the deal in May.

The move to formal preferred bidder status will allow the consortium to go out to the market for the money, known as senior debt funding, that will pay for the works.

Under the contract Connect will widen four sections of the orbital motorway, then be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the whole motorway for 30 years.

The Highways Agency hopes to formally sign the deal by the end of the year.