Owen Williams returns to its roots with M1 ECI

20 April 2005
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The Highways Division of Owen Williams consultants has successfully secured a further ECI contract – bringing the company’s tally to four major ECI contracts – and establishing it as one of the UK’s leading and most experienced consultancies to work on ECI projects for the Highways Agency.

In partnership with contractor Skanska and lead consultant Jacobs Babtie, the company will be providing professional design services as part of a £119 million assignment to design and construct a new motorway junction on the M1 near Rugby.

The win is a further boost for the company, which has seen its diverse highways project portfolio expand substantially over the last few years, and is testimony to its capability, experience and knowledge in delivering key highways projects.

The new M1 project has been awarded by the Highways Agency as part of its programme to reduce congestion and improve safety on England’s motorways and major trunk roads. The scheme has been formulated in accordance with the Highways Agency’s ECI (Early Contractor Involvement) Initiative.

Other ECI projects Owen Williams is currently working on include the A2 in Kent, the A5 in Staffordshire and the A5117 in Cheshire. Working closely with the Highways Agency and the contracting partners on these ECI projects has enabled Owen Williams to introduce, develop and refine a number of highly innovative methods ensuring that projects are delivered on time and to budget. These new procedures will be integrated into the M1 project and enhanced to provide a highly effective method of delivering the scheme.

As well as providing growth and opportunities for Owen Williams, the project is also returning the company to its roots. Owen Williams was the pioneer of the first road in the UK to be designed to motorway standards, having been commissioned in 1951 as consulting engineer for the first phase of the UK’s first inter-urban road, the 55 mile stretch of the M1 between Luton and Crick. The company was then commissioned to design the second phase – 87 miles between 1962 and 1967.

The M1 Junction 19 forms an interchange between three major trunk roads – the M1, M6 and the A14 as well as the A14/M6 corridor, part of the Ireland / UK / Benelux Trans European Network (TEN). The project will involve the design and construction of a full, four-level junction between the M1 and M6 motorways and the A14 trunk road to create free flowing movement for the M1 through route, M6 to M1 and M6 to A14 through routes. In addition, alternative links will be provided for access to the villages of Catthorpe and Swinford.

Planning and design for the project will commence immediately, with construction due to commence in Summer 2007. Work is due to be completed in early 2010.

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