Contractors named preferred bidders for A45 transport-corridor work and Birmingham Airport runway extension

VolkerFitzpatrick and Colas have been have been selected as preferred joint-venture contractors for two major Midlands construction projects worth a combined £65m.

The firms have been selected for the £32m A45 Transport Corridor Improvement Scheme, which was tendered by Birmingham City Council on behalf of Solihull MBC, and the £33m extension of Birmingham Airport’s runway.

The A45 improvements will reduce congestion and improve both safety and accessibility to the route linking Birmingham city centre and Coventry. It is expected to be complete by summer next year.

Meanwhile, the runway work - which will add an additional 405m to the existing 2,600m strip, allowing it to handle a broader range of long-haul planes - is expected to commence in June next year, with operational completion due in spring 2014.

John Morris (pictured), the airport’s head of industry and government affairs said the runway extension would have a range of benefits.

“By meeting local demand, the airport will reduce unnecessary long-distance surface journeys to other UK airports and generate sustainable long-term economic growth inside its own local area,” he said.

Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby said both projects represented “key strategic components” of the West Midlands’ transport infrastructure.

“Making improvements and expanding capacity of both the road and airport will directly benefit the regional economy, encouraging more inward investment and enhancing our position and ability to compete on a global scale,” he said.

Des Steadman, managing director of civil engineering at VolkerFitzpatrick, said: “We recognise the strategic importance of this significant infrastructure project to the region and look forward to its successful delivery.”.

Birmingham Airport is currently able to cater for short-haul and medium-haul routes into the UK and Europe, as well as limited long-haul routes to the east coast of North America and the Middle East, however China, South Africa and the west coast of America, cannot be reached directly.