£100m M27 scheme at risk

Steve Menary

A proposal to revamp junction 10 of the M27 in Hampshire to support the Welborne Garden Village development is under threat due to escalating costs.

VolkerFitzpatrick was appointed as a contractor in October 2022, when consultant Ramboll was also recruited. Work to finalise the design and construction was scheduled to begin at the end of 2023. At this time, the cost was officially in the region of £81m.

Hampshire County Council is the main client and delivering the scheme with Fareham Borough Council. In March 2022, Homes England agreed to provide £41.25m towards the cost and what was then described as 'the remaining £40m’ was due to be provided by the developers at Welborne Garden Village.

Work did not start as anticipated and the cost was put at £97.5m by last December, when a revised target price was sought from VolkerFitzpatrick.

A letter was sent by Hampshire County Council to stakeholders outlining the need for extra funding so that HCC could take the project to the construction stage.

If extra funding is needed and not provided, the project would be dropped, the report said.

Cllr Hants CC leader Rob Humby cautioned: 'An increase in the cost of construction materials generally is expected to have an impact on the cost of the project although we won’t know the full impact until we receive the revised target price from the contractor for review, which is expected in early 2024.'

At a council cabinet meeting on December 12, Tim Lawton, HCC’s assistant director of highways and transport, told members that National Highways and the Department of Transport were unlikely to provide further funding as the project would provide 'very little benefit to the strategic road network'.

That leaves Homes England, which said it was 'aware of potential cost issues' but would not comment further.

VolkerFitzpatrick and Fareham councils did not respond to a request for a comment about the status of the scheme and the cost review had not been completed by this week, when HCC told Highways: 'The contract is not being retendered. The cost review process has not yet been concluded.'

The scheme comprises an extension to the existing junction, which currently only allows drivers to join the M27 eastbound – towards Portsmouth – and leave it westbound.

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