Highways England has awarded the first contracts for its £1.5bn scheme to upgrade 25 miles of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon.
Due to the size of the project, it has been broken down into development (detailed design and pre-construction) and delivery phases. Construction of the proposed scheme split into four packages of work.
The contracts have been awarded under Highways England’s collaborative delivery framework (CDF).
The detailed design contract has been awarded to Atkins CH2M joint venture at a total cost of £35.3m. The initial award is for the development phase at a value of £19.6m. Once the scheme is given the go ahead the joint venture will provide design support and site assurance services throughout the scheme to a value of £15.7m.
Costain Skanska Joint Venture has been awarded the first two construction packages. Package one covers A1 at Alconbury to the East Coast Mainline; package two goes east from the East Coast Mainline to Swavesey. The value of the pre-construction phase is £1m. Once the scheme is given the go ahead, the joint venture will deliver £598m of construction work.
There are two further construction packages still to be awarded. Package three, for widening the existing A14 from Swavesey to Milton, is being re-tendered after two of the three bidders failed to meet the quality standard that Highways England was looking for, despite having already made it onto the CDF panel. This contract, worth £290m, is expected to be awarded in the summer.
The fourth package is for the demolition of the viaduct over the East Coast Mainline at Huntingdon and associated works – this will be tendered under the CDF in 2019.
Main construction work is on course to start in late 2016, although this remains subject to final approval from the Planning Inspectorate and sign-off by the secretary of state for transport. If all goes to plan, the new bypass and widened A14 will open to traffic in 2020.
The biggest construction challenge for Costain Skanska, apart from the sheer size of the project, is likely to be a new long-span bridge over the East Coast Main Line and River Ouse.
The overall A14 scheme involves a new bypass between Swavesey and Brampton, widening the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury, widening the existing A14 between Swavesey and Milton, improving the junctions at Bar Hill, Swavesey, Girton, Histon and Milton, Huntingdon Town Centre improvements, to include the demolition of the viaduct, and a new local access road.