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News from the UK Civils Industry 15th February 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

£20m funding promised for digital road projects

The government has promised a £20 million investment in smart technology in a bid to create “digital roads”. The competition is on with Highways England inviting firms to pitch their initiatives for new technologies which will make managing the UK’s motorways and A-roads safer and more efficient.

Unsurprisingly, air quality and road maintenance are top of the list of requested features, while interaction with autonomous vehicles is also on the table. There’s no time to waste, with entries closing in May and project start-dates planned for as soon as September 2019. Meanwhile, Highways England is leaving no creative idea off-limits; initiatives may include everything from self-repairing roads and robotic construction, to methods of communication between vehicles.

"This is an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs, collaborative partnerships, and organisations of any size,” commented Highways England executive director Mike Wilson, who went on to say that the initiatives will “help shape the roads of the future.” Highways England also encourages projects which have a focus on environmentally-friendly solutions.

The digital roads project is off the back of Highways England’s £15 billion smart motorway investment currently being delivered and across several programmes scheduled for 2020.

Navartis have direct experience, having supported more than 50 technical professionals on smart motorway projects across similar initiatives in both freelance and permanent roles and look forward to continuing involvement moving forward. > Full story

If you’re looking for your next freelance or permanent role visit our Civils jobs page or contact us here.

£67m tidal flood barrier opens

Floods Minister Dr Therese Coffey has officially opened the Environment Agency’s new tidal flood defence barrier for Ipswich. The centrepiece weighs in at 200 tonnes and has a price tag of nearly £70 million. Now completed and operational the barrier will ensure better protection for over 1,600 homes and 400 businesses over the next 100 years. “I am delighted the Government is investing so significantly,” Coffey commented.

The scheme is a major step forward for Ipswich’s Core Development Strategy. Council leader David Ellesmere said: “This project was a significant investment by the council. I’m glad to see this very impressive piece of engineering is now doing its job of providing peace of mind for residents and businesses in Ipswich.”

The barrier looks set to create up to 4,000 jobs and Navartis continue to be heavily involved in placing senior professionals in similar projects. The initiative is jointly-funded by multiple organisations; the Environment Agency leads the way with a £54 million financial injection while Haven Gateway Partnership, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee have all contributed between £1m and £6m a piece. Full story

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