Kier, alongside Balfour Beatty, Costain and Keltbray, has been awarded a £1.3bn contract by National Highways to design and deliver an upgrade to several sections on the A66 between Penrith and Scotch Corner.
The four contractors will collaboratively deliver the project, which has been procured through National Highways’ Regional Delivery Partnership framework. It will see the remaining single carriageway sections of the road dualled and key junctions between M6 junction 40 (Penrith) and the A1 at Scotch Corner improved.
Kier and its team, Tony Gee and Partners, and RPS, will be designing and constructing a new grade separated junction at Kemply Bank, a new five-mile dual carriageway constructed to the north of the existing A66 and improvements to junction 40 of the M6.
The A66 is a key route for east/west journeys in the north of England providing vital connections for travel across the UK. The route carries high levels of freight, with 25% of the traffic being heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) compared to the national average figure of 12%. The A66 is also an important route for tourism, providing access to the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District National Park.
Richard French, Kier Highways regional director, said: “This is a significant occasion for all those involved with the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine scheme. Kier Highways, along with the enterprise delivery partners and client are committed to delivering sustainable infrastructure and this major investment will be vital for the economy. We look forward to utilising our combined expertise to deliver a project that harnesses innovation and minimises our impacts on the surrounding natural environment.
“We will aim to deliver this strategic highway improvement work to the highest standards with safety, environment and customers at the heart of everything we do.”
Lee Hillyard, Project Director for the A66, said: “We are delighted to welcome Balfour Beatty, Costain, Keltbray and Kier and we look forward to working with them on the biggest generational investment on the north’s road network.
“We have worked with all four contractors previously and know the quality of their work. The signing of the contracts is a huge step in the delivery of such a big scheme and it is an important milestone for the A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project.
“I’d also like to thank Amey Consulting and Arup who played an integral role in designing the plans that were submitted and accepted as part of our DCO application.”
Kier has been working with National Highways and the other enterprise partners to fully scope the project since late summer 2021. The Planning Inspectorate is currently examining the Development Consent Order (DCO) application, which is needed for all Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) prior to construction starting. Following its conclusion, the Planning Inspectorate will recommend a decision to the Secretary of State for Transport with a decision on the route expected in 2023.