Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 18:06 UK

Private 6.2bn deal on M25 agreed

M25 motorway
Widening work is expected to be completed by 2010

A private finance contract worth £6.2bn to maintain and widen the busiest motorway in the UK has been agreed.

The deal for work on the M25 has gone to the Connect Plus consortium which includes engineering giants Atkins and Balfour Beatty.

Up to 200,000 vehicles a day currently use the sections of the motorway that will be widened to four lanes.

Transport Minister Lord Adonis said the deal would reduce congestion and improve journey times and safety.

The 30-year contract has increased by more than £1bn since a budget for the work was originally set.

'Reduce congestion'

Under the contract the M25 will be widened to four lanes between junctions 16 near Uxbridge in west London to junction 23 at South Mimms in Hertfordshire.

The section between junction 27 near Epping in Essex and junction 30 near Aveley in Essex will also be widened to four lanes, while the Hatfield Tunnel on the A1(M) will be refurbished.

Work on both sections is due to be completed before the 2012 Olympics.

Two further sections, between Junctions 23 and 27 and between junction 5 north of Sevenoaks in Kent and junction 7 where it meets the M23 in Surrey are included as "options" within the DBFO (design, build, finance and operate) contract but are not included in the £6.2bn contract.

Lord Adonis said: "Today marks a major step forward in increasing the capacity of the M25.

"The widening schemes, combined with the maintenance and operation of the M25 network for the next 30 years, will reduce congestion, improve journey time reliability and safety and bring benefits to road users."

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