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Stonehenge: Private finance deal mooted for £1.4bn tunnel

Contractors targeting the £1.4bn Stonehenge tunnel deal are expected to have to bid for contracts under a design, build, finance and maintenance deal (DBFM). 

A report from the Infrastructure Projects Authority said the Treasury had made the decision to adopt a private finance DBFM approach for the scheme on the A303 in Wiltshire.

“The review team acknowledged the progress made by the project team but proposed a review of the delivery schedule, in light of the recent decision from HMT to adopt a Private Finance DBFM approach,” the IPA’s annual report said.

The project will deliver a twin-bored 2.9 km tunnel, coupled with a dual carriageway bypass for Winterbourne Stoke, as part of a 11 km dualled stretch of the A303. 

In a statement to Construction News, the Department for Transport said: “Highways England is exploring the full range of options for funding, as is consistent with large capital projects.

“Private financing can bring many potential benefits, including greater certainty of delivery and more investment in road improvements now, as costs can be spread over a longer period of time.”

CREDIT Highways England_Stonehenge A303 tunnel bypass map

CREDIT Highways England_Stonehenge A303 tunnel bypass map

Source: Highways England

Earlier this year, Construction News reported that Highways England would be procuring complex infrastructure projects, such as the Stonehenge Tunnel and the Lower Thames Crossing, completely separately from the Regional Investment Programme

The IPA stated that the initial plan was to start works within the current Roads Investment Strategy, prior to April 2020.

The decision to progress the Stonehenge tunnel a private finance project follows the move by Transport for London to make the £1bn Silvertown Tunnel a design, build, finance and maintain contract.

TfL shortlisted Hochtief, Cintra Global and a Skanska / Strabag joint venture for the deal back in March.

The Stonehenge project is part of a broader programme of nine schemes designed to transform the A303 route into an expressway to reduce congestion in the South-west.

In March, Construction News reported that Aecom had landed the eight-year technical partner role for the project.

 

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