Transport minister Sadiq Khan today welcomed the start of construction on the M25 widening scheme − the £6.2bn design, build, finance and operate contract by the Connect Plus consortium.
Two sections of London’s orbital motorway between junctions 16 and 23 in the north west and between junctions 27 and 30 in the north east are being widened to four lanes from three in both directions. Refurbishment of the Hatfield tunnel is also being carried out as part of the contract. All the construction work is expected to cost around £1bn.
Although preliminary work began in late May, today signalled the start of major construction on the 35km section between junctions 16 and 23.
It has also been revealed that the Connect Plus consortium will make £3.4bn over a 30 year period from the deal to widen 102km of the motorway in total.
“Today marks a major step forward in our commitment to ‘Building Britain’s Future’ and increasing capacity on the busiest sections of motorways and trunk roads,” said Khan.
He added that the project would create “a huge boost” for the economy. The construction phase is expected to employ between 3,500 and 4,000 people until 2012 in addition to around 850 people employed on the 30-year operations and maintenance work.
“I am delighted to officially mark the start of works on this scheme and congratulate the Highways Agency on successfully delivering the contract award which represents excellent value for money and will provide huge benefits for decades to come.”
Work to widen the second section – 26km of the M25 between the M11 and the Dartford River Crossing – is also set to begin this month.
Details of the contract award were published last week.The original estimated cost of the project was approximately £1.5bn.
All the widening work is due to be completed before the Olympics in 2012.