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NCE Live News Updates Monday 20 January: Bids open for £99M roads deal

Highways Agency issues OJEU notice for M25 project; meanwhile Arup wins challenging road bridge in Denmark

5pm: The A303 in Wiltshire could have lanes closed for up to two weeks, the Highways Agency has warned.

The eastbound carriageway of the West Country arterial road has been closed since Thursday 16 January after flood water flowed on to the road up to 30cm deep.

One lane remains open in each direction under a contraflow on the westbound carriageway. A 50mph limit has been put in place.

Highways Agency service delivery manager Dave Sledge said: “We have been working closely with the Environment Agency to assess the flooding situation in the area and we have been advised that water levels may not return to normal for some time to come if the spell of wet weather continues.”


2.30pm: Civils firms have called for HS2 to benefit disadvantaged people in the construction phase.

Jim Steer, chief executive of the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group, said the UK should learn from how France built a high speed line earlier this century.

“In building HS2, we have got to look to a better all-round policy, not just economically but socially as well,” said Steer.

“A good precedent for this is the Rhine-Rhône line, built and completed in France, where 12 per cent of the workforce was expressly recruited from disadvantaged groups.

“These included the previously unemployed, the so-called unemployable, the physically disadvantaged, people with some kind of criminal record.”


2pm: The Construction Industry Training Board has named Adrian Belton as chief executive.

Belton, currently chief executive and accounting officer for the Food and Environment Research Agency, will take up his new post in April.

CITB marks its 50th anniversary this year, and Belton has been charged with preparing the body for the next 50 years.

He said: “What attracted to me to this job is the CITB’s pivotal role in the construction industry at a time of challenge and change for the industry; coupled with the potential to build on many of CITB’s strengths.” 


11am: Arup has secured work on a challenging road bridge scheme in Denmark.

The firm will be lead consultant to the Danish Road Directorate for the design, procurement and site supervision of the Roskilde Fjord Link.

The project, which includes 6.6km of dual carriageway and a 1.4km tolled bridge, is aimed at reducing congestion in the city of Frederikssund.

It is technically difficult because of the archaeology and natural beauty of the area.

Arup bridges and civil structures Europe practice leader Sander den Blanken said the scheme was “a firm step in the right direction of developing our infrastructure practice in Scandanavia in line with our strategy”.

Construction is due to start in 2016, with the link expected to open in 2019.


10.30am: More than £4 of benefits are received for every £1 spent by the Highways Agency on major projects, according to a report.

The study by consultant Atkins looked at evidence from reports into 75 projects costing in excess of £10M over the last 12 years.

It found that as well as creating long-term financial benefits, the schemes reduced accidents and met 90% of environmental objectives.

Louise Wootton, project sponsor for the Highways Agency, said: “We invest in these reports to demonstrate to taxpayers what has been achieved by our investment.”


9.45am: Part of the Welsh railway will be closed until May, Network Rail has admitted.

The Cambrian Coast line has been battered by high tides and storm surge resulting in damage to sea defences and embankments; the loss of rail ballast; and debris including rocks and boulders littering the line.

Network Rail is planning to re-open the line as far as Barmouth by mid-February, with the remaining section unlikely to be operational for a further three months.

Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail Wales, said: “This has been an extremely challenging period, but the rebuilding operation is underway and our priority is to safely re-open the railway as soon as is possible.”


9am: The Highways Agency is seeking bidders for a £99M deal to improve junction 30 of the M25.

The design-and-build scheme will see widening of a section of the A13 and improvements to the motorway junction.

Contractors have until midday on 24 February to express an interest in the project, with five expected to be shortlisted.

Work is expected to take two years to complete. For more information see the OJEU notice.

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