The M25 is the busiest road in the UK and strategically important to the economy. Atkins is part of the Connect Plus consortium including Balfour Beatty, Skanska and Egis Road Operation UK which was appointed by the UK’s Highways Agency in 2009 to manage the M25 and its key arterial link roads.
As part of this 30-year contract to manage and enhance London’s orbital motorway network, we are delivering lifecycle maintenance and major improvement projects. These include widening 38 miles of the M25, refurbishing tunnels and bridges, delivering Smart Motorways with all lane running and installing hundreds of variable messaging signs and gantries, helping to maximise the use of the network and deliver more reliable journeys. We also manage the Dartford River crossing, and operate and maintain 440km of this economically strategic road network providing our customer and road user with a world-class highway service.
Delivering the first significant widening programme before the London 2012 Olympic Games was a huge challenge, and to meet the deadline the design and construction had to be twice as fast as previous comparable projects, expending around £1 million per day and widening the motorway at a rate of 1.6km/month.
The second phase of widening includes the transition to all-lane running. Section 5a (Junctions 23-25) and Section 2 (Junctions 5-7) went live in April 2014.
The contract transfers the investment risk in lifecycle maintenance to the Joint Venture for 30 years and requires us to meet challenging performance requirements. Atkins is involved in all aspects of maintenance scheme delivery, from data gathering and inspections, through solution evaluation and whole life costing to detailed design and management of activities on the network. Some 200 individual schemes are progressed in any 12 month period and as such works must minimise road user impacts. This has driven innovation in many areas for example; solutions for concrete pavement repairs, major bridge joint renewal and bridge deck waterproofing replacement.