Highways England selects three contractors for £4.5bn smart motorway projects

Engineering and construction firms Costain and Balfour Beatty have been selected by Highways England to deliver the northern and southern smart motorway regions, respectively, in the UK, with a third contract for the Midlands going to a joint venture between BAM Nuttall and Morgan Sindall.

The contracts outline a 10-year framework that will see the alliance deliver a key element of the UK government’s second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), which relies heavily on technology and the smart motorway concept to deliver greater efficiency across the Strategic Road Network.

Other winners in RIS2, which is currently earmarked for £4.5bn, but could rise to £7bn, are named as Fluor, WSP and Jacobs Engineering.

A Highways England spokesperson said: “This announcement marks the start of a pioneering new approach to how Highways England does business. The 10-year framework will see us join forces with six partners to safely deliver a key element of the government’s second Road Investment Strategy.

“The framework will enable the industry to put greater emphasis on the standardised design, so where there are common elements across a programme, such as gantries and variable message signs, they can be produced and can be ordered ‘off the shelf’.

“By establishing this building block approach to road building, the intention is to transform productivity by increase efficiencies and decrease overall costs.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).