The Roads North of the Thames contract includes 16km of new road, 49 structures including four green bridges and viaducts, and junctions with the A13 and M25, 40km of paths and new parks and woodlands.
The work will connect the M25 at Junction 29 and the A13 with the Lower Thames Crossing tunnel at Tilbury, Essex.
Balfour Beatty beat a JV between Kier and Eiffage to the contract.
Balfour Beatty group chief executive Leo Quinn said: “The Lower Thames Crossing is a significant scheme - one that will stimulate local, regional and national economic growth, create employment opportunities and new, sustainable methods of construction for the future of our industry.
“Our deep domain knowledge and long-standing history in complex road construction, acquired through many years of successful delivery on behalf of National Highways, makes us ideally positioned to deliver this project to the highest standard.”
The Lower Thames Crossing will link Kent and Essex to relieve congestion at the Dartford Crossing.
The development consent order (DCO) application for the LTC was resubmitted in early November 2022, two years after the initial application was withdrawn due to the Planning Inspectorate’s demand for more information in relation to construction plans and environmental mitigations. The DCO application has now been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate for examination.
National Highways has designated the Lower Thames Crossing as a carbon neutral construction “pathfinder” project. This means that all procurement for the project will target low carbon construction methods with incentives that drive further continuous carbon reduction. It is to set a benchmark for carbon neutral construction and help the UK reach net zero by 2050.
In line with that pledge, Balfour Beatty has agreed to utilise modular construction techniques to build the structures offsite “in a controlled factory environment, significantly reducing carbon emissions by minimising the number of lorry movements and material deliveries to and from site”.
Lower Thames Crossing procurement director Kathatina Ferguson added: “Balfour Beatty will bring the best of UK construction to bare on this project. They share our commitment to driving carbon out of construction and maximise the benefits for local communities.”
The Lower Thames Crossing is National Highways most expensive project and is estimated to cost between £8.2bn and £9bn. A recent report by the National Audit Office revealed that it is one of eight schemes that National Highways is monitoring due to “value for money issues”.
Two other major contracts on the project are expected to be awarded this year. The shortlist for the project’s £2bn tunnelling contract was announced in 2021 April. It includes a joint venture between Bam Nuttall, Ferrovial Construction and Vinci (BFV JV); a joint venture between Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons, supported by Mott MacDonald and Ove Arup and Partners; and a joint venture between Dragados and Hochtief Infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the £600M Kent Roads package includes 6km of new road, a junction with the A2, three green bridges, 20km of pathways and a new park near Gravesend. The shortlisted bidders include a JV between Bam Nuttall, Ferrovial and Vinci; Costain; a JV between Kier and Eiffage; and Skanska.
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