Graham’s contract has been agreed at a price of £124m.
Highways England had been working on the basis that the whole project would cost less than £100m to bring in, including all the professional fees and land acquisition costs as well as the main construction works.
That Graham’s contract value is put at £124m suggest that costs have escalated by somewhere between 25% and 50%.
The cost escalation is attributed to design development, including environmental aspects, earthworks, structures and rerouting of utilities.
The project will enable road traffic to flow directly between the M25 and the A12 without having to give way at a roundabout and traffic lights.
Early design works started in winter 2020 and construction work is scheduled to start by spring 2022, subject to planning. (The Planning Inspectorate accepted the development consent order application in June 2020 for examination.)
The scheme is located between Brentwood and Romford, on the border of London Borough of Havering and Brentwood Borough Council.
Graham will build a two-lane loop road with hard shoulder, for traffic travelling from the M25 to the A12. It will build an overbridge at the A12 eastbound exit road to allow the proposed loop road to join the A12 eastbound carriageway. The anti-clockwise carriageway will be widened to provide the proposed exit road. And a bridge over the M25 anti-clockwise entry road will facilitate the new loop road.
A Highways England spokesperson said: “The money spent on this scheme is comparable with other major projects of similar complexity to deliver best value for money for the taxpayer. We will continue to work with partners to monitor the project’s performance and to carry out any short term measures we can to help road users, the local community and the region.”
This is one of three projects that Highways England allocated to Graham back in 2018 when it introduced its regional delivery partnership strategy for schemes below £100m. Graham is also delivering improvements to junctions 25 of the M25 (Cheshunt) and junction 5 of the M2 near Sittingbourne, Kent.
Graham highways director Dave Brown said: “It is testament to our growing reputation in the highways sector that we have been chosen as contractor for another important improvement scheme in the southeast of England.
“We have enjoyed an excellent relationship with Highways England for many years, built on collaboration. By delivering this scheme we’ll be catering for the road’s future traffic demands, increasing capacity and reducing congestion. The improved link to the A12 will also enable development and support economic growth, providing significant benefits to the area.”