The USA-based multidisciplinary infrastructure consultancy Jacobs Engineering Group has been awarded a contract by Highways England (HE) to develop possible solutions for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway project, focusing on development of the corridor between the M1 and M40 motorways.
The proposed expressway aims to improve connectivity across England’s economic heartland. At approximately 93 miles (150km) long, the route will also help unlock strategic growth sites between the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, together with the high-tech business and computer sciences hub around Milton Keynes. Over a two-year term, Jacobs and its supply chain partners will identify corridor and route options. The project scope also includes engineering assessment, stakeholder management, and project management, to progress the project through options development.
In July 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) published a stage one report for the Oxford to Cambridge expressway study, which outlined the high-level case for a strategic link to connect the cities of ‘the brain belt’ together. The expressway is set to be taken forward under the government’s second Road Investment Strategy (RIS 2) covering 2020-2025, and was the subject of one of six strategic studies to help inform the development of the program. In December last year, the DfT published a stage three report on the proposed scheme, which set out three shortlisted route options.
The project now moves over to HE, as the government organization charged with operating England’s motorways and major A roads that form the Strategic Road Network (SRN). This includes modernizing and maintaining the highway network that totals around 4,300 miles (6,920km). Jacobs delivers major transportation projects around the world, including several projects in the UK, such as HE’s Regional Investment Program and Smart Motorways Program. The company’s highway and traffic experts support its clients, including HE, with a range of capabilities from transport planning and modeling, intelligent mobility, connected vehicle and environmental solutions, to full project life cycle road infrastructure management.
“This is undoubtedly a critical transport link in the national infrastructure to support the continued economic development of one of the most significant growth corridors in the UK,” said Jacobs’ buildings and infrastructure senior vice president, Bob Duff. “Having worked closely with Highways England on the first section of the proposed expressway program, we look forward to integrating this experience with our proven transportation capabilities to deliver practical, strategic solutions.”