The £2bn upgrade of the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down, which includes a tunnel to divert traffic from the Stonehenge world heritage site, is still waiting for a development consent order (DCO). Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced earlier in the summer a revised deadline of 13th November for the decision, following a six-month public examination in 2019.
To keep things moving, Osborne will deliver ecological mitigation work, site clearance, associated highways alterations and utilities work, such as modifications to the Rollestone junction, safety improvements to the A303 east of Amesbury and water main installation.
Its £8.5m contract was awarded through Highways England’s collaborative delivery framework.
Highways England has also signed a £35m contract with Wessex Archaeology Ltd for archaeological protection and excavation work in advance of main construction works.
Archaeology fieldwork is not expected to start until late spring 2021, should planning consent be granted for the scheme.
Highways England project director Derek Parody said that the contract award “in no way pre-empts the granting of a development consent order and while we await the Secretary of State’s decision, we need to progress the procurement to ensure the project is in the best position it can be in to proceed thereafter”.
Highways England is also progressing the procurement process for the main works contract and participating in dialogue with bidders before they submit their final tenders. The preferred bidder is expected to be announced in late 2021.
As previously reported, the shortlist contracting groups bidding for the job are:
- BMJV, comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics and J Murphy & Sons;
- HDJV, consisting of Hochtief Infrastructure GmbH and Dragados;
- MORE JV, comprising FCC Construcción (42.5%), Salini Impregilo (42.5%) and BeMo Tunnelling UK (15%).