The delivery team for the UK’s proposed Lower Thames Crossing has been completed as Bouygues Murphy Joint Venture (BMJV) has been awarded the tunneling contract by National Highways.
If given the final go-ahead BMJV will build the country’s largest bored tunnels, which will run underneath the Thames east of London. connecting Kent and Essex
The Lower Thames Crossing is designed to tackle congestion at the Dartford Crossing and help grow the economy across the UK by almost doubling road capacity across the Thames east of London and make journeys across the region quicker, safer and more reliable.
The award of the Tunnels and Approaches contract completes the assembly of the Lower Thames Crossing delivery team, with BMJV joining Balfour Beatty who will build the roads north of the Thames, and Skanska who will build the roads in Kent.
The Tunnels and Approaches contract includes the design and construction of twin road tunnels under the river Thames, which at 2.6 miles will be the longest in the UK. At over 16 metres wide they will be one of the widest in Europe to enable three lanes of traffic to flow through freely at the national speed limit. This includes the UK’s next generation of goods vehicles that are currently restricted from crossing at Dartford, such as efficient double decker HGVs and those carrying sustainable fuels like hydrogen. The contract also includes the tunnel systems, portal buildings, and approach roads.
The Lower Thames Crossing’s ground-breaking procurement process builds upon National Highways’ track record of delivering major projects such as the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme early and on budget, and has learned the lessons from other infrastructure programmes. Bringing the delivery partners on board at an early stage, combined with the additional planning time gained by rephasing the project’s construction period earlier this year, means National Highways is able to more effectively manage risk and cost.
The procurement approach also supported the project’s role as a Pathfinder exploring carbon neutral construction. It is the first major infrastructure project in the UK to set an ambitious construction carbon limit in its procurement process, and then allow the competition between bidders to achieve further carbon reduction at no additional cost. BMJV have used their tunnelling and engineering experience to dramatically reduce the embodied carbon below this carbon limit, as well as ways to refine the design to reduce disruption to the local community and leave a legacy of green jobs and skills in the region and broader supply chain.
“We are delighted to have been awarded the Tunnels and Approaches in partnership with National Highways and our joint venture partner Bouygues Travaux Publics. At Murphy, our purpose is to improve life by delivering world-class infrastructure, we look forward to working with all partners and stakeholders on this project to help realise the long term benefits of investing in a key part of the UK’s national infrastructure. Lower Thames Crossing is a great opportunity for all partners to showcase our engineering expertise and commitment to collaboration and constructing low carbon infrastructure,” says Nick Fletcher, UK MD at Murphy.