Contract race starts as cost of giant aqueduct job hits £1.75bn

The estimated cost of the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme is £1.75bn – way above the original estimates of £1bn.

Work involves the replacement of six tunnel sections of the existing aqueduct and ongoing maintenance of those works for the next 25 years.

The job will be contracted using a reinvented design, build and finance model.

The winning contractor or joint venture will be  appointed under a bespoke project agreement with United Utilities for 25 years plus the construction period.

Up to three bidders will be put on a shortlist and firms can register their interest by August 17 here.

HARP in detail


HARP will be the largest infrastructure project undertaken by United Utilities since privatisation.

The original aqueduct was completed in the 1950s to increase supplies of water into Manchester and the Pennines region from the Lake District.

The original pipeline under construction

The project will see the replacement of six tunnel sections along the 80-mile aqueduct route, ensuring the resilience of the asset for decades to come.

The scope of the HARP DPC Project is the delivery of:

(a) design, construction, testing and commissioning of the works.

(b) planned and corrective maintenance, including lifecycle maintenance, of the assets following the completion of each section of the tunnel.

(c) the project management of the activities.

(d) financing of the activities.

While the commercial framework was being developed, considerable preparatory work was undertaken to support the design process. Costain was onboard for early assessment and survey work of the aqueduct network

United Utilities also partnered with the British Geological Survey to generate a 3D ground model to allow prospective bidders to understand the ground conditions.

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