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Laing O’Rourke lands £30m Chester Zoo project

Laing O’Rourke has been awarded a £30m contract to expand Chester Zoo with a southeast Asia-themed zone.

The project will transform an unoccupied part of the zoo’s estate into the exotic islands of the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bali, Sumatra, Sumba and Sulawesi.

Linked by a series of bridges and including a journey on water, Islands will be home to animals and plants from southeast Asian islands.

Laing O’Rourke’s northern director Tom Higgins said: “We’ll apply the latest engineering solutions to the project, including digital engineering and Design for Manufacture and Assembly; techniques that will offer best value and allow for a more sustainable and safe delivery.”

The contractor will also build a an Indonesian jungle house which will be the largest indoor zoo exhibit in the UK and home to Sumatran orangutans, Sulawesi macaques and a new species for the zoo, the sunda gavial crocodile.

Laing O’Rourke will also work with the zoo to host open days for local residents to find out more about the build.

Mr Higgins added: “We also share with Chester Zoo a strong focus on education, and we look forward to working with local schools and education providers as we deliver the Islands project.”

Chester Zoo development director Simon Mann commented: “This marks a new stage in the development of Chester Zoo and it will be unlike anything experienced before in a UK zoo.

Islands is a complex project that includes the creation of landscaping themed to each island, an exotic boat journey and world-class animal exhibits which marry the exact needs of our animals with the best experience for visitors.

“Finding a company who can understand our ethos and work confidently with us through the build process was vital.”

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