Bal­four wins lorry park con­tract

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - One Long Job - By Matt Le­clere

A huge lorry park off the M20 to al­le­vi­ate Op­er­a­tion Stack could be open by next sum­mer, it has been an­nounced.

Bal­four Beatty has been ap­pointed to build and de­sign the 3,600 space site – in a £130 mil­lion con­tract.

The firm said the site could be “par­tially open” as early as sum­mer 2017.

A final de­ci­sion on the site ear­marked at Stan­ford is yet to be made by trans­port sec­re­tary Pa­trick McLough­lin re­gard­ing the scheme.

This would in­clude the makeup of the site and its lo­ca­tion.

High­ways Eng­land con­sulted on two pro­posed sites around the Stan­ford area at junc­tion 11 of the M20 ear­lier this year.

The results of the con­sul­ta­tion have not yet been pub­lished.

But Bal­four Beatty was con­firmed as con­trac­tors for the con­struc­tion of the pro­posed lorry area last week.

It will now work to carry out the de­sign phases be­fore build­ing the park once it is ap­proved by the govern­ment.

It is pro­posed that 150 con­struc­tion jobs will be cre­ated with the park “an­tic­i­pated to be par­tially open” by next sum­mer.

Bal­four Beatty said it ex­pected the early ap­point­ment would “min­imise po­ten­tial de­lays to the work start­ing on site once the lo­ca­tion is fi­nalised”.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Leo Quinn said: “Bal­four Beatty’s ex­per­tise in ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects and long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with High­ways Eng­land will be cru­cial for the safe and suc­cess­ful delivery of this project.

“The M20 lorry area will pro­vide much-needed re­lief to Kent’s road net­works while sup­port­ing lo­cal eco­nomic growth and de­vel­op­ment.”

Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Osborne an­nounced a £250m fund­ing pack­age for a so­lu­tion to Op­er­a­tion Stack in his Au­tumn State­ment last year.

High­ways Eng­land project man­ager Adrian Shep­pard said: “We are pleased to ap­point Bal­four Beatty as our con­struc­tion part­ner to work with us on a per­ma­nent lorry park in Kent in the months ahead.

“Op­er­a­tion Stack is only ever im­ple­mented as a last re­sort. We are work­ing on plans for a new long-term so­lu­tion that will ease con­ges­tion on lo­cal roads.”

As part of the an­nounce­ment, Bal­four Beatty said it would be in­creas­ing links with schools in the area and in­tro­duce six ap­pren­tice­ship schemes.

Stan­ford Par­ish Coun­cil chair­man Matthew Webb says the govern­ment “doesn’t even have a proper plan” for the pro­posed M20 lorry park

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