Britain’s largest privately-financed motorway scheme, the £200 million M1/A1 Link Road east of Leeds, opened to traffic in the early hours of this morning (4th Feb), five months ahead of schedule.
The 30km road is a DBFO project which was constructed by a Kvaerner/Balfour Beatty joint venture to link the M62 and M1 south of Leeds with the A1 and A64 to the east and north of the city. It has taken less than three years to complete and includes 18km of newly-built carriageway and 12km of widened road.
The construction contract, awarded by Yorkshire Link, included building cut and cover tunnels, new interchanges and junctions and dedicated links at the M1/M62. In addition 51 major structures - including three railway crossings and a five-span viaduct at the River Aire - and 90 minor structures such as gantries were built.
In a separate £10 million contract Kvaerner Construction has installed a sophisticated communications system to help improve road safety, traffic flow and even law and order.
It has supplied a motorway incident detection system; 26 CCTV cameras; 450 signs and signals and 75 telephones. These are connected by 160km of ducting, 50km of optical fibre cable and more than 150km of copper cable. A private power network with over 30km of cable will keep the equipment running.
The CCTV cameras, along with information from the monitoring and warning equipment, are linked to a Police Area Control Room which controls the west Yorkshire motorway network.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott will mark the formal opening of the new road during a visit planned for next week.
Yorkshire Link, a Kvaerner/BICC JV, now has 27 years remaining of its 30-year concession and will receive payments during that time from the Highways Agency through "shadow tolls".
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