Friday, September 12, 2014

News: £125m M1 contracts for Costain

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Costain, the engineering solutions provider, has secured contracts worth around £125m to carry out work on the Smart Motorway scheme on the M1 through Rotherham.


Two Highways Agency schemes have recently been given the go ahead to begin construction. A ten mile stretch of the M1 between junctions 32 (south of Sheffield and Rotherham) and 35a (north of Sheffield and Rotherham) is set to benefit from a project costing between £124m and £174m. A similar scheme costing between £163m and £221m is planned for the M1 between junction 28 (South Normanton) and 31 (Aston).

The Highways Agency smart motorway projects include plans for converting the hard shoulder to an extra traffic lane in both directions and variable mandatory speed limits but the Transport Secretary has put the brakes on the agency's plans to reduce the speed limit to 60mph at peak times to manage traffic speeds and help reduce congestion and air pollutants locally.

Managed motorway schemes deliver benefits at a significantly lower cost than conventional motorway widening and with less impact on the environment during construction. Signs and signals will still be used to inform drivers of conditions on the network and when variable speed limits are in place. Safety concerns have been raised by South Yorkshire Police over the use of the hard shoulder.

Costain is a long term partner with the Highways Agency through the Major Projects Framework, having also worked on large scale engineering projects such as airports, office blocks, the Channel Tunnel and nuclear decommissioning projects at Sellafield.

By undertaking both projects on the M1, Costain will be able to effectively manage road space between them and reduce disruption to road users. The work follows on from the central reserve barrier replacement work which is already underway.

Between J28 and J31, early works include site clearance, vegetation clearance and drainage and ducting works, with the completion of the concrete barrier, surfacing and structural bridge repairs to be completed.

Darren James, managing director of Costain Infrastructure, said: "Costain provides innovative, technology lead solutions to address major national infrastructure needs, and we are delighted to have been awarded these further significant contracts by the Highways Agency, reinforcing our position as a long-term partner of choice."

The Highways Agency is holding exhibitions later this month, providing the opportunity to find out more about the construction phase of the scheme and to ask any questions.

The stretch of motorway between J32 and 35a carries more than 110,000 vehicles each day and 95,000 vehicles per day travel between J28 and J31. Both stretches suffer from congestion and delay at peak times.

The work is due to complete in early 2017.

Costain website
Highways Agency website

Images: Highways Agency

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