Highways England has launched the first NEC4 contract for delivering the £7 billion Lower Thames Crossing. Following on from further public consultation earlier in the year, the UK Government-owned company published notice of a £242 million NEC4 Professional Service Contract (PSC) in July 2020.

The eight-year contract is for an integration partner to provide consultative engineering and construction services on one of the most ambitious roads project in the United Kingdom for more than a generation.

The contract involves building a new 23km motorway between the M25 in Essex and the M2 in Kent. It will cross the Thames estuary between Tilbury and Gravesend via twin 16.4m wide, 4.2km long bored toll tunnels, which will be the UK’s longest, and the worlds widest. Around 50 new bridges and viaducts are also to be built.

Highways England is planning to let the construction as three separate main works contracts, with a total value of between £5.3 billion and £6.8 billion. It is envisaged that these will all use the NEC4 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option C (target contract within activity schedule), with some minor adjustments subject to further market engagement.

Managing the interfaces between the three contracts will be a key role under the NEC4 PSC contract. The integration partner will also be required to provide a broad range of project and programme management services to support the project and contract leadership teams, and provide high quality data analysis and experience-based decision making.

Due for completion in 2027, the new road will nearly double the crossing capacity currently provided the existing Dartford Tunnel and Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.

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