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O’Rourke, Balfour and Skanska interested in £2bn major projects framework

Several major contractors are lining up bids for the Highways Agency’s £2 billion major projects framework, which will cover six of the seven schemes on the managed motorways programme.

Laing O’Rourke, Balfour Beatty and Skanska all confirmed that they had met the 23 June deadline for expressions of interest in the four-year agreement.

It is believed that Costain, Carillion, Vinci and Morgan Est have also made submissions.

The Highways Agency expects to invite up to nine firms to tender during August or September and will appoint a maximum of four to the framework in January 2010.

Although the full list of potential work has not been finalised, the framework will cover hard shoulder running schemes on the M4 and M5 around Bristol; the M6 J5-8 around Birmingham; the M1 J32-35A east of Sheffield; the M62 J18-20 in Manchester; M62 J25-30 from Bradford to Leeds; and the M60 J8-12 around Manchester.

There is also scope for the M60 lane gain scheme to be included – and there are likely to be more jobs on offer to the eventual winners.

A Highways Agency spokesperson said: “The £2bn is not representative of the anticipated costs of those defined early schemes, but allows head-room for additional schemes to be added should we wish to do so, and should the decision be taken to include such schemes in the national roads programme.”

The framework does not cover work on the M1 J10-13 between Luton and Milton Keynes, which has already been contracted to a Costain/Carillion joint venture.

In the framework’s tender notice, which was published in OJEU in May, the agency said that winning firms would be required to work with each other, and designers, to deliver the programme.

It added: “The delivery partners will also construct, integrate and commission the managed motorways schemes, in collaboration with other organisations engaged in carrying out design, construction and supply, to ensure successful delivery of programme level objectives.”

As well as traffic management and construction works, the job will also required the installation of gantries, motorway signs and CCTV.

Meanwhile the Highways Agency has confirmed tender return dates for the three area maintenance contracts, which are currently shortlisted.

Tenders for Area 13 are due on 24 August, while documents for Area 14 and 1 are due on 7 and 21 September respectively.

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