Highways England has started its search for contractors for its road construction program on both sides of Lower Thames Crossing.

Worth a combined £ 1.9bn, the two contracts cover the design and construction of roads on either side of the 4km bi-drilled tunnel that will link Kent and Essex.

The £ 1.3 billion Roads North project is a two-stage design and build contract delivering the route from 1 km north of the tunnel’s northern entrance to ‘at junction 29 of the M25. New connecting roads are needed to connect the route with the M25, A13 and A1089.

Meanwhile, the £ 600million Kent Roads complex is also a two-stage design and build contract for the portion of the route from the A2 / M2 corridor 1km south of the southern entrance to the tunnel, with strategic public services and environmental interfaces.

A separate tender for the construction of the tunnel itself was launched in November at RCE Conference on the future of transport.

The two successful bidders will construct a total of 23 km of new roads which will connect the UK’s longest road tunnel to the strategic road network.

Lower Thames Crossing Executive Director Matt Palmer said: “The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road project this country has seen since the completion of the M25 35 years ago. These contracts show our commitment to this project, which will support 22,000 jobs during construction and provide a huge economic boost to the UK economy when it opens to traffic.

“Our challenge is to build the new crossing in a way that not only supports the next generation of low-carbon vehicles, but minimizes our footprint and allows us to enhance the natural environment and leave a positive legacy to our neighbors and users. “

The packages also involve the delivery of landscaping that will increase the biodiversity value of the area by 15% by planting over 260 ha of new woods, converting 400 ha of arable land into semi-natural habitats and creating new ones. ponds, streams, ditches and hedges.

They will also be responsible for building seven new green bridges that connect the habits and species on either side of the new road.

Scope of contracts

Kent Roads contract includes:

  • 6 km of new road, including a multi-level junction to link the A2 to Lower Thames Crossing
  • Environmental mitigation is at the heart of our agenda, most visibly with two ‘green bridges’ at Thong Lane & Brewers Road, these bridges combine green spaces with walking, cycling and vehicle access and provide better connectivity for landscape, ecology and habitats. Brewers Road will also welcome riders.
  • The road was designed to minimize impact and features extensive new and improved landscaping structures, embankments, cuttings and retaining walls.
  • The diversion of public services, including strategic gas pipes, electric cables, water and telecommunications
  • Ecological works for species protection and habitat improvement along the route

The Roads North of the Thames contract includes:

  • 16 km of new road with more than 30 proposals for new and / or improved structures, embankments, cuttings and retaining walls, under bridges to take the route of the A13 and join the M25 at junction 29
  • Environmental mitigation is at the heart of the project, the roads north of the Thames contract are largely protected by bunds and fitted out along its entire length, with 5 “green bridges”, these bridges combine green spaces with walking, bicycle and vehicle access and provide better connectivity access to the landscape, ecology and habitats.
  • Two viaducts at Tilbury on the Tilbury Loop Railway and across Orsett Fenn on the Mardyke floodplain. Both were designed to improve connectivity under the crossing, promoting access for the local community.
  • The diversion of public services, including gas pipes and electric cables and pylons.
  • Ecological works for the protection of species and the improvement of habitat along the route.

When completed, the Lower Thames Crossing will improve journeys by nearly doubling road capacity across the River Thames to east London, with 23 km of new road featuring two 4 km long tunnels. It will create better connections with the region’s ports, distribution centers and manufacturing centers.

The project’s planning request was withdrawn by Highways England in November following comments from the Planning Inspectorate regarding the impact the construction would have on local communities and the environment.

Talk to RCE the week after the plans were withdrawn, Palmer said he expected the plans to be resubmitted within 90 to 120 days of the original request being withdrawn.

That deadline has since passed, Highways England is now expected to resubmit plans “later this year”.

In February, Highways England awarded Jacobs a £ 162.5million integration partnership contract for work on the Thames Underpass.

Jacobs will act as a catalyst for the collaboration between Highways England and the three main works contracts of the project. It will include program management, stakeholder management and risk management to help meet time, cost and quality targets.

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