National Highways has awarded Kier a £460m contract to design and deliver a ‘landscape-led’ upgrade to the A417 between Gloucester and Swindon.
The contract award follows a competitive procurement process through National Highways’ Regional Delivery Partnership framework and the two companies completed a budget setting process in the early part of this year.
Kier’s team for the 3.4-mile route, known as the ‘Missing Link’, will include Volker, Arup, Tony Gee and RPS.
The Missing Link is a single carriageway stretch of road on the A417 between the Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout in Gloucestershire. The scheme will deliver four miles of ‘missing’ dual carriageway.
Michael Goddard, project director for the A417, said: ‘Kier has an extensive track record working with National Highways and delivering large scale infrastructure projects, so we are confident they will deliver a scheme that meets our landscape-led vision.
‘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.’
Paul Baker, Kier Highways project director, said: ‘Delivering highways infrastructure which is vital to the UK is Kier Highways’ purpose and we are proud to be doing this through the delivery of the A417 contract.’
National Highways said congestion on the route can be frequent but unpredictable, causing motorists to divert onto local roads, while poor visibility and other factors mean that crashes, many of which are serious, occur frequently.
The scheme includes four miles of new dual carriageway connecting the existing A417 Brockworth bypass with the existing A417 dual carriageway south of Cowley.
The section to the west of the existing Air Balloon roundabout would follow the existing A417 corridor but the section to the south and east of the Air Balloon roundabout would be offline.
The scheme will also deliver a new junction at Shab Hill, providing a link from the A417 to the A436 towards Oxford and into Birdlip and a new junction near Cowley, replacing the existing Cowley roundabout.
The existing A417 between the Air Balloon roundabout and the Cowley roundabout would be repurposed, with some sections converted into a route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, and others retained as access for residents.
National Highways said that ‘supporting the landscape vision of the scheme’, it continues to work with stakeholders to maximises the benefits and will be creating new habitats and habitat connections for native wildlife including bats, bees, badgers and more to flourish.
The Planning Inspectorate’s examination of the scheme’s development consent order application is due to conclude next month, after which the inspectorate will send its recommendation to the transport secretary in the summer, with a decision on the route due in the autumn.