More than 150 companies have signed up to be a part of Highways England’s flagship Stonehenge scheme - the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down upgrade.
As part of ongoing efforts to engage the supply chain, the government-owned company launched the A303 Stonehenge business directory in December, extending an invite for small and medium-sized businesses to be part of the dualling scheme and tunnel project.
Within less than two months a total of 161 companies are now registered – half of those from the Wiltshire locality, Highways England said.
David Bullock, Highways England project manager for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said: 'We’re delighted by the response so far, and we’d like to see that number double again in the coming weeks to enable local and regional SMEs to gain access to business opportunities within the scheme.
'We need businesses large and small to help build the scheme, but we understand that small and medium-sized enterprises face challenges in getting a foot in the door on projects of this scale, so we want to break down any barriers by standardising terms and conditions, minimising requirements and applying a fair and prompt payment initiative.
'The project has numerous benefits, not only in improving journey reliability and enhancing the World Heritage Site landscape, but also in unlocking economic growth in the South West.'
At a virtual Meet the Buyer on 21 January, Highways England’s project team and preliminary works contractors Wessex Archaeology Ltd and Osborne Ltd discussed upcoming opportunities.
This was the first in a series of engagement activities planned with local and regional SMEs ahead of fieldwork and preliminary works starting later this year.
The preliminary work will provide opportunities in the next six months or so, with greater potential for SMEs once Highways England appoints its main contractor later this year, or early 2022.
Highways England is working closely with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Business West, the Federation of Small Businesses, Salisbury and District Chamber of Commerce and Salisbury BID.
It has also partnered nationally with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to provide free online training, which helps smaller companies to upskill and places them in a better position to tender for work on larger infrastructure projects.
Companies registered so far cover civil engineering, building and civil works, security, facilities management and landscaping, together with other professional services such as business supply, catering, cleaning, environmental and waste management.
Businesses interested in being a part of the A303 Stonehenge project are urged to register their details here. Information will then be passed to the relevant contractors.
For more details and updates on the A303 Stonehenge scheme, people can log on to the scheme website, and for any further queries, companies can email firstname.lastname@example.org