Costain is set to bid for work under a new framework contract on major road tunnels in North Wales, owned and operated by Welsh Government.
The Tunnels Framework covers five tunnel bores and sections of approach road on the A55 in North Wales, which is a major arterial route linking Wales and the north west of England to Dublin via ferry from Holyhead. The route has around 4km of road tunnels that opened in stages between 1989 and 1993 and span a wide river estuary and pierce two large rock headlands.
In early 2014 Welsh Government met its obligations under the UK Road Tunnel Safety Regulations and associated EU law for safety improvements to the tunnels and is now managing a forward programme to replace equipment nearing the end of its service life. This is an opportunity to invest in new technology and modern energy-efficient systems such as LED lighting.
Up to £40 million could be spent on the tunnels over the life of the Framework and five contractors have been appointed who will have the opportunity to bid for various work packages.
Factors to be taken into account in awarding work packages include previous experience, technical capabilities and delivering a substantial part of the work with minimal recourse to subcontractors. “Welsh Government wants the bidders to undertake as much self-delivery as possible, not just be the managing contractor. We’re in a good position with that,” explained Costain highways technology development manager, Ian Billington.
Work packages have started to be released for tender. Apart from the challenges of providing value and innovation for the tunnels projects, tight restrictions on access and frequent night working present organisational and resource difficulties that Costain has the local presence, knowledge and experience to overcome.