National Highways awards £1.2 billion crossing contract despite project not yet having approval

By Neil Speight

23rd Jan 2023 | Local News

An artist's impression of A13, A1089 Lower Thames Crossing junction
An artist's impression of A13, A1089 Lower Thames Crossing junction

A £1.2 billion contract had been agreed to build roads and junctions in Thurrock as part of the Lower Thames Crossing project - even though the scheme has not yet been approved by the government.

National Highways, which is forging ahead with its plans for the crossing even while local residents and community and environment organisations are being canvassed by the Planning Inspectorate as it considers objections to an application for the scheme's Development Consent Order, has made an announcement today (Monday, 23 January).

It has awarded the contract for building roads and junction in Thurrock to Balfour Beatty.  

The 'roads north of the Thames contract is a two-stage design and build contract delivering the around 10 miles of new road from around 1km north of the Thames in Thurrock to Junction 29 of the M25 in Havering, including a number of new link roads and junctions to connect with the M25, A13 and A1089. 

Lower Thames Crossing procurement director Katharina Ferguson said: "Balfour Beatty will bring the best of UK construction to bear on this project. They share our commitment to driving carbon out of construction and maximise the benefits for local communities." 

Leo Quinn, group chief executive of Balfour Beatty, said: "The Lower Thames Crossing is 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 start of construction is subject to the project being granted a Development Consent Order and government's final funding and investment decision. 

The contract with Balfour Beatty comprises:  

  • Around 10 miles of new road  
  • Over 30 proposed new and/or upgraded structures, embankments, cuttings and retaining walls, under bridges to take the route through the A13 and to join the M25  
  • Viaducts at Tilbury over Cole's Reservoirs and at Mardyke across flood plain  
  • Connecting the new road to the M25 at Junction 29  
  • The diversion of utilities including gas mains and electric cables and towers  
  • Ecological works for species protection and habitat enhancement along the route  
  • Archaeology carefully and sensitively excavated and recorded 


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