Highways England releases £7bn smart motorways tender

Dominic Browne

Highways England has launched the procurement process for a smart motorways alliance with an estimated value of £7bn, over a 10-year period.

The published tender is divided into three lots, with one partner providing production management services (Lot 1), two partners working as digitally enabled designers (Lot 2) and three partners undertaking on-site assembly and construction role (Lot 3).

'The Alliance will develop, design, and build multiple road schemes under a single Alliance Contract. Partners will operate from a centralised production hub to coordinate delivery,' the tender document states.

'The Alliance will increase lane capacity on all parts of the strategic road network through embedding technology and converting hard shoulders to all-lane running. Where required, the Alliance will also deliver associated works to coordinate wider HE programme of works. The Alliance may also support HE deliver the wider autonomous and connected vehicles road implementation strategy.'

The infrastructure that goes into creating that capacity also forms the foundations for connected vehicles to use the motorways in the future, Highways England highlighted.

The Alliance is the second part of the government-owned company’s Routes to Market procurement approach; earlier this month it announced the companies it will work with on £8.7bn worth of Regional Delivery Partnership deals.

Highways England’s chief executive, Jim O’Sullivan said: 'We want a step change away from traditional thinking and more towards creating value. We want companies that can learn from their experiences, and work together to deliver ever improving efficiency and productivity.'

The six partners will work with Highways England to achieve results that include:

  • Better safety, through better aligned and common working practices and reduced time on site;
  • More efficient delivery, through a programmatic approach that will drive standardisation, production and off-site assembly;
  • Improved customer service with a reduction in time needed for works and minimising any disruptions for road users;
  • Increased investment in skills and innovation from the supply chain, supported by a secure and long-term pipeline of work.

In a statement, Highways England said: 'The contract is outcome-focused and partners will be collectively responsible and rewarded based upon delivering efficiencies. The Alliance puts integration and collaboration between Highways England and its supply chain at the heart of how Highways England’s smart motorway programme will work going forward.'

Accompanying procurement documents can be accessed via Bravo Solution, Highways England’s e-procurement portal.

A link to the Smart Motorway Alliance descriptive document can be found here:

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