One of the UK's largest ever public-private partnerships
London's M25 is one of the world's largest orbital motorways and carries 15 percent of the UK’s motorway traffic, or 200,000 vehicles a day.
In May 2009, Highways England awarded the Skanska-led consortium Connect Plus a 30-year public-private partnership contract to add capacity to the M25 and manage it and key arterial link roads. It is one of the UK’s largest ever public-private partnerships (PPP).
As part of Connect Plus, Skanska was responsible for the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance. The construction project included four components:
- Widening 60 km of highway to four lanes, in four sections
- Refurbishing a 1.25 km, two-lane tunnel
- Widening and converting a further 45 km into the UK’s first smart motorway
- Removal of the toll plazas and cash collection at the Dartford Crossing
The partnership also includes operation and maintenance of the whole 188 km of the M25’s existing and new road, as well as a further 188 km of ‘stubs and tails’ into London and to two of the world’s busies airports (Heathrow and Gatwick), plus the road’s 1,800 structures, including 750 bridges and 150 gantries, five tunnels and one long span bridge – the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.
Construction completed in two phases
Construction was completed in two phases: the first in 2012 in time for the London Olympics, and the second in 2014. Operation and maintenance are ongoing, and the 30-year concession runs from May 2009 to September 2039, with services having started in September 2009 on financial close. The benefits of the scheme include:
- Improved and more reliable journey times
- Reduced congestion
- Enhanced motorway safety
- Better driver information
- Faster-flowing traffic at the Dartford Crossing
At the peak of construction, the team delivered a mile of road a month, employing between 3,500 and 4,000 people.