A £39.1 million contract to construct a new junction on the M20 motorway near Ashford in Kent has been awarded to Vinci Construction, it has been confirmed by Highways England.

The work will see the creation of a new junction 10a on the highway, located approximately 700 metres east of the existing junction 10. In addition to a roundabout and slip roads connecting to the motorway and the existing A20 road, it will include the construction of two new bridges and a section of dual carriageway linking the M20 with the A2070 near Sevington.

As well as reducing congestion around junction 10, the new road will help stimulate economic growth in the local area, allowing better access to new developments and ultimately leading to the creation of more jobs in the region.

HIghways England regional director for major projects in the south-east Chris Welby-Everard said: “Following our successful public consultation earlier this year, we have awarded the construction contract so that if planning permission is granted we can start work as soon as possible.”

Preliminary hearings examining the proposals took place on December 2nd, following a nine-week consultation on the project earlier in 2016, which generated around 900 responses. Construction of the scheme is still dependent of planning permission being granted, as his decision is still pending. However, this is expected to be a formality.

Commenting on the awarding of the contract, Peter Whitman, highways sector director at Vinci, said the company is “delighted” to have been appointed as principal contractor for the project.

He stated: “We look forward to working alongside Highways England in delivering this important scheme to reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability, whilst supporting growth in the Ashford area.”

Mr Whitman also noted that the contract will be particularly important to Vinci, as it marks the first time the firm will be the sole provider for a Highways England project, which demonstrates the company’s growth in the strategic road sector.

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