Stonehenge tunnel project in Wiltshire, England

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National Highways has awarded key contracts for the £1.7 billion A303 Stonehenge Tunnel scheme to Costain and Mott MacDonald. Costain and Mott MacDonald have been awarded the £60 million Delivery Assurance Partner contract by National Highways.

The two engineering behemoths will contribute technical and construction management expertise. This is by assisting in the mobilization of the main works contractor, overseeing construction, assisting in the discharge of consent requirements, and ensuring the design.

It comes after National Highways chose a joint venture to deliver the £1.25 billion contract for the tunnel. Also involved is the main construction work for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme past Stonehenge. The joint venture is made up of Spain’s FCC Construcción, Italy’s WeBuild, and Austria’s BeMo Tunnelling.

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Stonehenge Tunnel technical and construction management contract

The contract is subject to transport secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s final approval of the scheme. The planning application is still pending redetermination after the decision to grant the Development Consent Order (DCO) was initially quashed.

Derek Parody, National Highways project director for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, stated, “We’re pleased to have brought in a team of expert contractors.” The main works contract will not go into effect until the secretary of state completes the planning process.

“The announcement in no way presupposes any decision, and once that is finalized, and if the DCO is granted, having these contractors in place puts us in the best possible position to deliver this transformational scheme and deliver the benefits we know it can.”

The main works for the Stonehenge Tunnel scheme contract include the civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and technological components of the proposed tunnel. This includes the tunnel boring machine, as well as the approach roadworks and structures. Also involved are the environmental aspects of the five-year construction phase.

Reported earlier

May 2022

£1.25 billion Stonehenge tunnel project contract awarded

The contract for the Stonehenge tunnel project has been awarded. The £1.25 billion contract was won by a three-way European joint venture of Spanish contractor FCC, Italy’s WeBuild, and Austria’s BeMo Tunnelling. The massive A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down upgrade was severely hampered last July when the High Court ruled that transport secretary Grant Shapps’ decision to approve the Stonehenge Tunnel scheme against the advice of planning officials was illegal.

Following the reversal of the decision to grant the Development Consent Order, a new planning application is now awaiting redetermination by the transport secretary. Highways England today decided to name the European MORE joint venture as its preferred contractor for the works in order to keep the project on track. The three-way joint venture was chosen over two other bidders: Bouygues Travaux Publics/J Murphy & Sons and Hochtief Infrastructure/Dragados. As the design joint venture, the FCC-led JV has enlisted Atkins, Jacobs, and Spanish designer Sener.

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5 year construction period

Over a five-year construction period, the main works contract on the Stonehenge tunnel project covers the civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, and technology components of the proposed tunnel, including the tunnel boring machine, as well as the approach roadworks and structures.

National Highways has been collaborating with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Business West, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Salisbury and District Chamber of Commerce, and the Salisbury BID to prepare for the construction phase, and has also partnered nationally with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to provide free online training.

Preliminary works on Stonhenge tunnel

Within the first six months of construction, the preliminary work on the Stonehenge tunnel project will provide initial opportunities for local, regional, and national businesses. Contracts for archaeology and enabling preliminary work were announced in 2020 as part of the scheme’s total capital cost of £1.7 billion.

Wessex Archaeology, one of the sector’s largest contractors, was awarded the £35 million Archaeological Mitigation Contract, while Octavius Infrastructure (formerly Osborne) was awarded the £8.5 million Preliminary Works Contract via the Collaborative Delivery Framework. National Highways, the company in charge of England’s major A roads, is also nearing the end of the process to award a Delivery Assurance Partner Contract worth up to £60 million in due course.