CONSULTANT FaberMaunsell was this week helping port developer P&O to work up detailed plans for highways improvements in Essex to support the redevelopment of the massive Shell Haven oil terminal.
The plans will form the basis for talks with the Department for Transport and Essex County Council about P&O's financial contribution to the upgrades.
Last month, the government told P&O that the project's future hinged on the company's contribution to the cost of the improvements (NCE 28 July).
Construction of the refinery depends on widening sections of the A13 east of the M25 and on a capacity increase at the M25's junction 30.
P&O is now developing the highway plans in consultation with the Highways Agency.
'The Highways Agency and P&O are working closely together to meet the transport secretary's three month programme for coming up with an engineering solution to the A13 widening and improving junction 30 of the M25, ' said P&O's Shell Haven project director and ICE past president Doug Oakervee.
This will set out the scope of capacity enhancements to allow work to be costed and P&O's contribution decided.
P&O has already offered to part-fund some improvements.
But transport secretary Alistair Darling is understood to have asked for more information about the precise funding mechanism.
Separate discussions will take place with Essex County Council over the funding of improvements to the A1014 which links the A13 to the Shell Haven site.
Redeveloping the Thames estuary site involves building a massive 2.3km long, deepwater quay plus a logistics centre connected to the road and rail network.