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Lower Thames Crossing: multi-million pound contract awarded to Jacobs

A multi-million pound contract to oversee work on the Lower Thames Crossing at Gravesend has been awarded.

Highways England revealed this morning it has given Jacobs the £162.5m contract, which will see the company collaborate between HE and the Lower Thames Crossing’s three main works contracts responsible for delivering what has been described as "the most ambitious road scheme in a generation".

The proposed Lower Thames Crossing at Gravesend. Picture: Highways England
The proposed Lower Thames Crossing at Gravesend. Picture: Highways England

HE says the crossing between Gravesend and Essex will improve journeys by almost doubling road capacity across the Thames east of London, with 14.3 miles of new road featuring two 2.6-mile-long tunnels.

It says the scheme will help to unlock a wealth of economic benefits by supporting more than 22,000 jobs during construction and creating better connections to the region’s ports, distribution hubs and manufacturing centres.

Jacobs' role is to support HE with programme, stakeholder and risk management and in a statement, HE said "their experience-based insight will enable objectives for time, cost and quality to be met".

The company will now begin to prepare the scheme to move into the delivery phase so that main works contractors will be in a good position to be quickly mobilised if and when permission for the scheme is granted. Jacobs will continue its support until the crossing is built.

HE says it plans to resubmit its application for a Development Consent Order later this year. An application was originally submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in October 2020 but was withdrawn at the eleventh hour to provide more information.

What the A2/M2 junction for the Lower Thames Crossing will look like. Picture: Highways England
What the A2/M2 junction for the Lower Thames Crossing will look like. Picture: Highways England

LTC executive director Matt Palmer said: “The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road project this country has seen since the M25 was completed nearly 35 years ago.

"The construction of the crossing will generate 22,000 jobs, and will connect the Midlands to the Channel ports providing a boost to the UK economy as part of post Covid-19 recovery. This contract award is the first step in that journey.

“Jacobs will be join us as a partner, bringing world-wide best practise in large infrastructure programmes to supplement Highways England’s outstanding record in successful project delivery.

"Together our intention is to create a collaborative team with our three main contractors to deliver an exceptional project that the country can be proud of.”

Jacobs' People and Places Solutions Senior Vice President Europe and Digital Strategies Donald Morrison said: “We are united around the Lower Thames Crossing’s vision to improve transport connections and boost regional economic growth opportunities, and look forward to driving strategic collaboration with Highways England and their key partners on this critical component in the UK’s future transport infrastructure.

“Our collective knowledge and capability in successfully integrating major transportation solutions, coupled with our long partnership of working with Highways England position us to manage this uniquely challenging programme of work, achieving best value against the outcomes.”

Highways England is the government-owned company responsible for modernising, maintaining and operating England’s motorways and major A roads.

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