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Capita Symonds

Major infrastructure projects and strategic partnerships are at the heart of business for Capita Symonds

Capita Symonds is one of the UK’s largest multidisciplinary consultancies, and operates in the civil engineering, building design, environment, management and transport sectors. It specialises in complex major projects, providing a variety of services to clients across both the public and private sectors. In the civil engineering business, projects include highways design and network management, bridge and tunnel design, geotechnical engineering and contracts and procurement advice.

Most of the company’s business is conducted through long-term strategic partnerships with key clients, including the Highways Agency, Welsh Assembly Government, local authorities, major contractors and private developers. Current projects include the £120M upgrade of 8.6km of the A74 (Carlisle-Guards Mill) to motorway standards.

Capita Symonds is designer to the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) team promoting the project, which involves crossings of both the River Esk and the West Coast Main Line. Sub consultant was Grontmij. This stretch of the A74 forms part of the M6/M74 strategic north-south route between Scotland, North West England and the West Midlands, and was the only non-motorway section of this route. It carries three-quarters of all cross-border traffic, averaging at 42,000 vehicles a day.

Capita Symonds has been working on the project with ECI contractor Carillion since 2003, with construction starting in 2006. The project involves a combination of on- and off-line widening, a new all-purpose road and two major bridge structures. The first of these is a new bridge over the River Esk built alongside the existing 1970s structure that will continue to carry northbound traffic. The new bridge was built by jacking the 180m long, 18m wide deck structure across the river from the north embankment. This 1,200t steel structure sits on three piers built on artificial islands in the river, piled to bedrock at a depth of 6m.

Just north of the River Esk is the Mossband Viaduct, which carries the new road over the West Coast Main Line and is the most expensive and complex part of the project. The viaduct has embankment approaches that allow the road to rise up and over a concrete box with the rail line inside, and these embankments have been built on top of very boggy ground, work that involved substantial piling, stabilisation and pre-loading to induce settlement. The concrete box itself has been built using a moving formwork system mounted on a rail, so that the walls could be constructed without the need for rail possessions. Overnight track closures were then used to place precast concrete beams to form the roof of the box. Construction is now complete on this vital section of road linking England and Scotland, with the motorway due to open on the 5th December 2008

To find out more about working for Capita Symonds go to

Holmesdale Tunnel
Another major Capita Symonds-designed road scheme has recently set a safety record by being completed without a single reportable accident. The £75M project involved refurbishing the busy Holmesdale Tunnel on the north side of the M25 to reduce congestion and improve the condition of the structure.

Work included adding an additional eastbound lane through Junction 25 of the motorway, and an additional lane in each direction through the 650m long tunnel, as well as replacing all the mechanical, electrical, operational and communication systems. More than 120,000 vehicles a day use this section of the M25, making it one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Europe.

The refurbishment and widening were carried out as a Highways Agency Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) project, with Costain, Capita Symonds, Mouchel Parkman and the Highways Agency working in partnership to deliver the project.

It was opened in September 2007, by which time the team had reached the safety landmark of achieving no accidents reported in 1.95 million man-hours of work. In recognition of achieving one million man-hours without a reportable accident, Costain and Capita Symonds jointly donated £1,500 to a local hospice.

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