Highways England has awarded Jacobs the £162.5m Integration Partner contract which will see the company act as a catalyst for collaboration between Highways England and the Lower Thames Crossing’s three main works contracts.
The Lower Thames Crossing 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. The scheme will help to unlock a wealth of economic benefits by supporting over 22,000 jobs during construction and creating better connections to the region’s ports, distribution hubs and manufacturing centres.
The Integration Partner will bring a diverse range of capabilities to create a strong support function to Highways England in connection with the project, including programme management, stakeholder management and risk management. Their experience-based insight will enable objectives for time, cost and quality to be met.
Jacobs will 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. They will also support the successful delivery of the construction, integrated system commissioning and handover to operations helping to ensure the project leaves a great legacy.
Matt Palmer, Lower Thames Crossing Executive Director 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 Covid19 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 & 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 U.K.’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.”
The award of the Integration Partner contract follows the £2bn Tunnels and Approaches package – Highways England’s largest ever contract – tender launch in November 2020.
Highways England 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 in order to provide more information.