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Civils surge bucks recessionary trend

A raft of road projects and energy sub-sector projects have supported a 39% surge in civil engineering project starts compared to this time last year, figures from construction information tracker Glenigan have revealed.

The news comes as the Highways Agency announced it will start work on six major schemes in the next
financial year, as well as bringing forward work valued at £400M as part of the government’s fiscal stimulus plan.

Glenigan said the outlook for this sector is expected to remain positive throughout 2009 as a result of new projects in the renewable energy sector and spending on rail and road infrastructure.

However, the collapse of the residential property sector means the construction market overall has fallen 23% year on year. Glenigan is now forecasting that the construction industry will contract by 30% year on year in the first half of 2009.

The Highways Agency’s plans are set out in its annual Business Plan for 2009-2010, published on Friday. The six major schemes set to start are:

  • M25 widening junctions 16 to 23 and also junctions 27 to 30
  • Hard shoulder running on the M6 junctions 8 to 10a
  • A14 Felixstowe to M1 traffic management technology improvements
  • Hard shoulder running on M1 junctions 10 to 13, M4 junctions 19 to 20 and M5 junctions 15 to 17

As part of the government’s fiscal stimulus measures, the Agency will start construction work in April on the A46 Newark to Widmerpool scheme three years ahead of the original timetable.

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