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'Nothing new to bid for' in £600M roads package

Highways England has been urged to speed up its procurement process after £600M was earmarked for major road schemes in the North East.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin last week announced funding for completion of two major schemes, the start of four big projects and further development works.

But Douglas Kell, regional director of trade body the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, said all the cash was earmarked for schemes already out to tender or projects some way from procurement phase.

“There is nothing new here to bid for,” said Kell. “There is nothing new to tell my members about in this package.

“Let’s get away from feasibility and start doing,” he added. “I would like to see a quicker timetable for procurement.”

Kell said the A1 Western Bypass improvement, from Coal House to the Metro Centre at Gateshead, had been underway for some time, and the A19 Coast Road project was long known about. Some of the other schemes were not scheduled to start for a couple of years, he added.

A Highways England spokesperson said: “Highways England has been set up specifically by the government to deliver £11bn of improvements to England’s motorways and major A roads over the next five years, including £600M in the North East, making roads even safer, reducing congestion and underpinning economic growth in regions across the country.

“In the North East, work has already begun on some on these projects and the remaining investment is being procured or will be once scheme plans are finalised. We will engage with our supply chain before going to market to procure for this work.”


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