The A500 project been dubbed the 'Stoke Pathfinder'. It is the Highways Agency's well publicised first foray into the use of early contractor involvement, or ECI (NCE 19 June 2003). Agency project leader Graham Dakin says that getting Nuttall involved in design and looking at buildability while the scheme was going through the statutory processes shaved approximately two years off the procurement process, and accordingly the project as a whole. Conventionally tenders for construction would have been put out only when planning permission had been granted.
Nuttall has tackled work on a design and build basis with consultant Hyder. Its work has involved early liaison with the Environment Agency to gain consents for the water course work and to look at rainwater run-off management. It also established close relationships with utilities firms whose pipelines and cables crisscross the alignment. Work has involved major power, gas, water and sewer diversions.