Costain celebrates smart delivery of £130m A19 Testo's Junction

07/07/2021
Dominic Browne

Costain has celebrated the completion of the £130m A19 Testo’s Junction improvements a month ahead of schedule.

The two-year project took more than a million hours of work, with around 60% of that time coming from a local workforce, and finished inside its budget range of £91.1m to £159.4m.

Russell Furnival, Costain’s project lead for the A19, said the use of digital tools was key, with a delivery strategy based around intelligent planning, identifying key milestones early and making them visible and visual for all.

Mr Furnival explained: 'The early adoption and continued use of Aphex, a cloud-based planning tool to track, update and communicate the programme in real time and from anywhere in the UK helped us.

'It allowed for remote working and maintaining social distancing at a critical time for the project and for the wellbeing and safety of our people. Robust planning and delivery were essential, with construction phasing agreed at a very early stage and the team stuck to the plan.'

Officially opening the junction, Transport minister Baroness Vere said: 'The £130m Testo’s junction upgrade will be hugely beneficial to the North East, providing swifter, more reliable free-flowing journeys and supporting economic growth in the region.

'As we build back better from the pandemic, this Government will continue to invest billions of pounds to improve infrastructure, boost connections, and level up regions right across the country.'

The scheme dates back to the Highways Agency, with the preferred route announcement made in June 2014.

The A19 project aims to provide safer, more reliable, and environmentally conscious free-flowing journeys through a traditionally congested network.

Costain’s transportation managing director Sue Kershaw said: 'The UK’s road network is the backbone of the country’s transport infrastructure providing real and direct economic benefits to business, to workers, to users. Keeping traffic moving through faster, safer, greener, and more efficient project delivery is encapsulated in the A19 Testo’s junction improvement scheme.'

The nearby A19 Downhill Lane scheme also provides extra capacity on the junction between the A19 and the A1290 and supports plans for the development of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), Costain said.

New link roads will be created between Downhill Lane and Testo’s, optimising journey times and providing new facilities for pedestrians, cyclists, and horse riders.

Throughout the pandemic, the Costain A19 team worked with schools and engaged virtually with more than 600 people at Newcastle, Northumbria, and Teesside universities.

The team also supported charities across the region, donating toys to the NSPCC recovery centre in Newcastle and supported pop-up foodbanks in Jarrow and Boldon Colliery.

Highways England acting chief executive Nick Harris said: 'This opening is an important milestone in the substantial investment being made in the North East’s major A roads.

'These improvements will make a major contribution to the region, from providing better journeys to and from the region’s ports and Teesside airport, to improving journey times for local people who can get home more quickly and safely to their families or to and from their workplace.'

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