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Tue May 17 2022

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Big six share £1.5bn smart motorway contracts

22 Jul 15 Joint ventures of Balfour Beatty-Vinci, Costain-Galliford Try and Kier-Carillion have landed contracts to upgrade 10 sections of England’s motorway network.

Three of these projects will start in autumn this year: on the M1 in Northamptonshire, the M5 in Worcestershire, and the M6 near Stoke-on-Trent.

Highways England is spending £1.55bn in total on the latest round of its smart motorways programme, adding 292 extra lane miles to motorways, converting hard shoulders to traffic lanes, installing technology to monitor traffic flow and dot matrix signs for variable speed limits.

A Balfour Beatty-Vinci joint venture has been selected to deliver three smart motorway schemes, in a package worth up to £607.4m.

The JV, 60% Balfour Beatty and 40% Vinci, will upgrade: a 10 mile stretch of the M5 between Junctions 4a and 6 in Worcestershire; a 12 mile section of the M6 between Junctions 2 and 4 in the Midlands; and a 32 mile stretch of the M4 Junctions 3 to 12 west of London.

Balfour Beatty Vinci has signed the contract for the first tranche of work, the £45.4m M5 upgrade, with construction due to start in the autumn of this year.

The M4 scheme is expected to start in 2016/17 and the M6 in 2017/18 and at an estimated combined value of up to £562m. Final target costs for these contracts will be agreed with Highways England.

The Costain-Galliford Try joint venture has been handed contracts for three separate smart motorway schemes together worth more than £365m.

First to start is the M1 J19 to J16 upgrade in Northamptonshire, starting this autumn at a value of £65m.

Costain-Galliford Try has also been appointed to construct two schemes expected to start in 2016/17: the M1 J24 to J25 in the East Midlands, and the M1 J13 to J16 in Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire. These have combined value of up to £302m, also subject to the agreement of target costs.

Kier-Carillion's 50:50 JV has four projects worth a combined £475m. It will upgrade a 19-mile stretch of the M6 between Junctions 16 and 19 and between Junctions 13 and 15. It will also convert the M20 between Junctions 3 and 5 to smart status and the M23 Junctions 8 to 10.

The first assignment, on the M6 (J16-19), worth £129.5m, also begins in the autumn. The other packages are phased for delivery over the next four years. Final target costs for these tranches will be agreed with Highways England in due course.

These contracts were awarded through Highways England’s collaborative delivery framework (CDF) for the smart motorway programme. They will be managed through a collaboration agreement under which the delivery partners are expected to share knowledge and best practice. 

A joint venture of Amey and Arup has been handed a £25m design contract for Costain-Galliford Try’s M1 sections J24-25 and J13-16.

Joint ventures of CHM2 and Hyder and of Jacobs and Atkins

For the three schemes starting this year, designers were appointed earlier under the project support framework:

  • Mott McDonald and Grontmij were awarded the contract to design and develop the M5 J4a-6 at an estimated contract value of £2.85m
  • Atkins was awarded the design contract for the M1 J19-16 section at an estimated contract value of £3.5m
  • Jacobs has prepared M6 J16-19 at an estimated contract value of £4.5m. 

Consultants have also now been appointed for the other seven schemes mentioned above. A joint venture of CHM2 and Hyder is designing the Balfour Beatty Vinci schemes; Jacobs and Atkins are together working up the Kier Carillion schemes; and Amey and Arup joint venture has a £25m contract to design the next M1 stages of J24-25 and J13-16.


Estimated cost range




M5 J4a to J6      

£62.7m to £85.7m    

Catshill, Bromsgrove to Warndon, Worcester

Balfour Beatty Vinci

Mott McDonald and Grontmij (£2.85m)

M1 J19 to J16   

£88.3m to £113.3m  

Catthorpe nr Rugby to Kislingbury nr Northampton

Costain Galliford Try

Atkins (£3.5m)

M6 J16 toJ19     

£167.2m to £212.3m

Barthomley, Cheshire to Tabley nr Knutsford

Kier Carillion

Jacobs (£4.5m)

M4 J3 to J12   

£586.4m to £826.4m

Cranford Park nr Heathrow to Theale, Berkshire

Balfour Beatty Vinci

CHM2 and Hyder

M6 J2 to J4        

£156.7m to £224.6m

Ansty nr Coventry to Coleshill nr Birmingham

Balfour Beatty Vinci

CHM2 and Hyder

M6 J13 toJ15     

£232.3m to £335.4m

Dunston nr Stafford to Hanchurch nr Stoke     

Kier Carillion

Jacobs and Atkins

M1 J24 to J25    

£78.6m to £115.4m  

Kegworth nr East Midlands Airport to Sandiacre nr Stapleford

Costain Galliford Try

Amey and Arup

M1 J13 to J16    

£343.6m to £490.2m

Ridgemont nr Milton Keynes to Kislingbury nr Northampton

Costain Galliford Try

Amey and Arup

M20 J3 to J5      

£86.9m to £124.2m  

Addlington nr West Malling to Aylesford, Maidstone

Kier Carillion

Jacobs and Atkins

M23 J8 to J10    

£148.4m to £211.2m

Merstham, Surrey to Crawley, West Sussex

Kier Carillion

Jacobs and Atkins

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