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Heathrow expansion boss reveals contractor procurement plan

heathrow picture

The man in charge of delivering Heathrow’s third runway has revealed the airport operator’s procurement plan. 

Heathrow Airport Ltd will begin procuring construction partners at the end of this year, with construction of the third runway scheduled to begin in 2021, said Heathrow expansion programme director Phil Wilbraham in an exclusive interview with New Civil Engineer.

Contractors will be sought for a range of disciplines including demolition, site clearance and utility diversions. 

Wilbraham said: “We will start to procure teams at the back end of this year and that will continue on as we work out the exact construction schedule.

“We are going to start in 2021, so we will need contractors on board next year to work with the designers and to ensure that the construction planning is done really well in advance of starting the main construction work.” 

He added: “Initially we will be starting with demolition, site clearance and utility diversions. Then we will go into a major civil engineering project which will be around things like earthworks.

“We have got a lot of earth to move around underneath the runway. We will be moving roads like the M25, the A4 and the A304. We are moving some rivers as well.”

Wilbraham confirmed that construction of the third runway would then take place. 

He also told New Civil Engineer he was “confident” legal challenges against the third runway would ultimately fail and have no impact on the airport’s construction timetable.

A judicial review into the governments decision to go ahead with the expansion programme finished on Friday. Five legal challenges were launched after the House of Commons voted in favour of building the runway at the airport, approving transport secretary Chris Grayling’s National Policy Statement by 415 votes to 119, in June last year.

“We are absolutely clear that we believe [the legal challenges] will not be successful so we are continuing on our normal timeline and the project remains on track for the third runway to be operational in 2026,” said Willbraham. 

It will now take up to two months before a decision is handed down by High Court judges Justice Holgate and Lord justice Hickinbottom after deliberating on the arguments put forward.

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