Kier snaps up £460m motorway upgrade

Kier’s highways division has won a £460m contract to design and deliver an upgrade to the A417 between Gloucester and Swindon.

The new 3.4 mile-long dual carriageway will connect two parts of the motorway, namely the Brockworth bypass and the dual carriageway south of Cowley. National Highways, the client for the job, said the development would reduce delays and increase safety on the A417.

Known as the “missing link” on the A417, the improvement would help to avoid “frequent and unpredictable” congestion, which sometimes causes motorists to go onto local roads, the client added.

The plan is currently being considered by the Planning Inspectorate, which is due to conclude its observations next month. After that, transport secretary Grant Shapps will decide whether to give the project the go-ahead.

Kier Highways project director Paul Baker said the infrastructure project would “improve the connectivity of the strategic road network”.

“We are a national business with a local focus and, throughout the duration of the project, we will support the local community through employment opportunities and social value initiatives that leave a positive legacy,” he added.

National Highways’ project director for the A417, Michael Goddard, said: “We will work together to deliver a project that is sympathetic with the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and will support economic growth, improve traffic flows at peak times and make the road safer.”

Kier’s bumper contract award comes weeks after it was shortlisted for two Lower Thames Crossing contracts, worth £1.3bn and £600m. It bid for the contracts in a joint venture with Eiffage, and will face off against the likes of Balfour Beatty, Skanska and Bam Nuttall for the work.

In January, Kier was one of a host of contractors to register interest in a £2.7bn PFI highways contract in Birmingham, which will run until 2035. Kier is currently on site on an interim basis, after Amey – which won the previous PFI contract in 2010 – settled on a £300m deal to exit the contract in 2019.

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