And now, here’s hoping all the wild weather doesn’t disrupt your festive plans too much. Happy Christmas from all at NCE. We will be back with the daily live news updates on Monday 6 January 2014.
This morning brings more good news for Balfour Beatty’s US operations with a rail win in Denver. And the firm, along with some of the usual highways maintenance suspects such as Amey, Atkis, Skanska, Mott MacDonald, Carillion, Bam, URS and Mouchel, is shortlisted for the latest Asset Support Contracts to be released by the Highways Agency.
9.45am: Denver’s Regional Transportation District in the US has awarded a Balfour Beatty/Graham Contracting joint venture (JV) a $343M (£210M) contract for the first phase of design and construction on the North Metro Rail Line project.
This is the third in a series of electrified commuter rail lines that the JV is building across the region as part of its ambitious FasTracks programme, with the first two well under construction as part of the Eagle P3 project.
The Regional Rail Partners JV will design and build a 21km long commuter rail line from Denver Union Station to 124th Avenue.
Balfour Beatty Rail is the managing joint venture partner of Regional Rail Partners. Stantec Consulting Services serves as the lead designer with Parsons Brinckerhoff serving in the role of a sub-designer to Stantec.
Design begins immediately, with the first groundbreaking scheduled for spring of 2014. The first phase of the North Metro Rail will open in 2018.
When the entire line is completed it will span 30km between Union Station and 162nd Avenue/Colorado Highway 7.
Update from late Friday: The Highways Agency confirmed on Friday that it has invited tenders for its Asset Support Contracts for maintenance in Areas 4 and 12.
Amey, Aone+, an Atkins Skanska joint venture (JV), a Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald JV, Carillion and Mouchel-owned EM Highway Services have been invited to tender for Area 4, which covers the motorways and key trunk roads in Kent, Sussex and some small areas of Surrey and Hampshire.
In Area 12, which covers Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, Amey, Aone+, the Atkins Skanska JV, Carillion and EM Highway Services have again made the shortlist but this time joined by a Bam URS joint venture.
“Asset Support Contracts (ASC) represent a major step forward in the way that routine maintenance is delivered on England’s Motorways and major A roads,” said an Agency spokesman.
“They allow contractors to innovate and to find more cost-effective and efficient ways of delivering maintenance, while still retaining the high level of safety that road-users have come to expect of the strategic road network.
“The maintenance contracting market has expressed an appetite for this work and is fully engaged with the direction that the Agency is taking with the new ASCs.
“These contracts are less prescriptive and focus on the outcomes we want to achieve, allowing our contractors to assess what they require in order to deliver the service that we expect of them. This enables our supply chain to focus on achieving outcomes, giving them freedom to innovate and to find more efficient ways of working.”
The contracts in detail
Area 4 covers the motorways and key trunk roads in Kent, Sussex and small parts of Surrey and Hampshire. This includes the M23, M20, M2 and many trunk roads including A27, A21 and A2.
The network includes key international ports and airports, including Gatwick, the Channel Tunnel, Dover and Folkestone, and has direct links to the UK road network via the M25. Many of the routes carry a high proportion of heavy and light goods vehicles and there are high levels of seasonal south coast holiday traffic.
Comprising a total route length of 451km, which includes 933 carriageway kilometres (including slip roads), the network also includes 845 structures of which 497 are bridges or large culverts and two are tunnels.
Area 12 covers around 525km of motorway and trunk roads and over 1,300 structures (such as bridges and gantries) throughout Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.