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Wed June 29 2022

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FCC/WeBuild team picked for £1.25bn Stonehenge tunnel

26 May National Highways has revealed its preferred bidder for the £1.25bn contract for the tunnel and main construction work for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down scheme past Stonehenge – if it ever happens.

National Highways has selected the MORE joint venture, comprising FCC Construcción (42.5%), WeBuild (42.5%) and BeMo Tunnelling (15%), as its preferred contractor for the works.

The planning application for the scheme is still on the desk of the transport secretary, following the quashing of the decision to grant a development consent order.

Grant Shapps approved the DCO in November 2020 despite the Planning Inspectorate having recommended against it. Then in August 2021 the High Court ruled it out following complaints lodged by the campaign group Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

However, National Highways is carrying on with the procurement process regardless, to ensure programme timescales are maintained.

MORE JV has enlisted a design consortium with Atkins, Jacobs and Spanish designer Sener acting as the design joint venture.

The main works contract covers the construction of the proposed tunnel’s civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and technology components, including the tunnel boring machine, along with the approach roadworks and structures and the environmental components of the five-year construction phase.

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WeBuild was formerly called Salini Impregilo when tendering began.

The other shorlisted bidding consortia were

  • BMJV, comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons
  • HDJV, consisting of Hochtief Infrastructure GmbH and Dragados

National Highways project director Derek Parody said: “The contract will only become live once the Secretary of State has concluded the planning process.

“The announcement of a preferred bidder in no way pre-empts any decision, and once that is finalised, and should the Development Consent Order be granted, having a contractor in place will put us in the strongest possible position to deliver this transformational scheme and deliver the benefits we know it can.”

In a statement, the joint venture said: “For the companies that are part of the MORE JV – Webuild, FCC Construcción, and BeMo Tunnelling – this project is a clear example of the development of sustainable, innovative infrastructures that not only provide traffic solutions but also improve people’s quality of life.

“It is also an opportunity to demonstrate the experience and international technical capacity of the companies of the MORE joint venture.”

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