National Highways lets six NEC contracts worth £3.5 bn for Lower Thames Crossing

National Highways lets six NEC contracts worth £3.5 bn for Lower Thames Crossing

NEC Users’ Group platinum member National Highways has let the last of six NEC Contracts worth a total of £3.5 billion for the proposed Lower Thames Crossing in Kent and Essex, UK.

A joint venture of Bouygues Travaux Publics and Murphy won a £1.34 billion NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option C (target contract with activity schedule) in December 2023 for design and construction of twin road tunnels and approaches under the Thames estuary.

Longest UK road tunnel

The two 4.3 km long, 16 m wide bored tunnels will be the longest road tunnels in the UK. On completion in 2032, they will form part of new 23 km dual-three-lane road link between the M25 near South Ockendon in the north and the A2/M2 near Strood in the south.

The £1.2 billion NEC4 ECC Option C for roads north of the Thames was let to Balfour Beatty in January 2023 and the £450 million NEC4 ECC Option C for roads in Kent went to Skanska in July 2023. All delivery contracts are due for completion at the end of 2032.

Consultancy partners

National Highways also engaged three consultancy partners for the project using NEC. In April 2016 it let the £300 million technical partner role to a Cowi, Arcadis and Jacobs joint venture using an NEC3 Professional Services Contract (PSC). This was followed by a £162.5 million NEC4 PSC to Jacobs in April 2021 for the integration partner role.

Finally commercial partner Turner & Townsend was hired in November 2021 via an NEC3-PSC-based Crown Commercial Service framework, under which task orders of £24 million have so far been issued.

Double capacity

The new route will nearly double the river crossing capacity east of London and take around 13 million vehicles a year from the congested M25 Dartford Crossing, which consists of the Dartford Tunnel and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. It will also generate jobs for 22,000 people.

Matt Palmer, the project’s executive director, says the final contract award ‘completes a world class team that has carbon reduction, community and value at its heart. By bringing the team together at an early stage we can focus on driving out carbon, delivering the best possible value for money and maximising the huge benefits the project will deliver nationally, regionally and locally.’

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