Galliford Try lands £226m road project after Morgan Sindall fails to agree terms

Galliford Try will design and build the £226m Carlisle Southern Link Road project after the previous contractor, Morgan Sindall, failed to agree terms with the local authority.

Cumbria County Council – which next week will be replaced by Cumberland Council and Westmorland & Furness Council as part of local government reorganisation – said it remained committed to delivering the scheme, despite the cost challenges it had faced.

Morgan Sindall was appointed to deliver the first phase of the project two years ago, beating off competition from Galliford Try, Kier and Bam Nuttall.

According to the tender document drawn up at the time, Morgan Sindall would be awarded the contract for the second phase of the work following the successful completion of stage one and the agreement of a formal offer.

However, last summer the council decided not to award the stage-two contract to Morgan Sindall after the firm made an offer that “significantly exceeded” the project budget and included several changes to the contract.

Instead, the council carried out a fresh procurement exercise and this week approved the appointment of Galliford Try, whose bid, which was significantly lower than that of its closest competitor, was assessed to be “the most economically advantageous” of the three tenders received.

The new road, which will connect Junction 42 of the M6 with the A595 at Newby West, is regarded by the local authority as vital for the economic growth of Carlisle and the delivery of 10,000 new homes over the next 30 years at St Cuthbert’s Garden Village.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has pledged to provide £212m for the scheme, to be combined with £13.8m from Cumbria County Council and Carlisle City Council, which will be sourced from developer contributions.

Cumbria County Council cabinet member for highways and transport Keith Little said the benefits the road would bring in connecting East and West Cumbria, unlocking housing and stimulating economic growth should not be underestimated.

“What once felt like a pipe dream to build this new strategic road, now really feels like it is happening and gathering pace with the appointment of Galliford Try,” he said.

“Cumbria County Council has campaigned to secure the funding needed for this project and it is a fantastic legacy for us in our final days to hand this to the new Cumberland Council to deliver the scheme for the people of Cumbria.”

The main construction works on the site are due to get underway in June 2023, with completion expected to take at least two years.

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