Press Release

Balfour Beatty awarded £43.9 million A1 improvement scheme by the Highways Agency

3 June 2014


Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, has been awarded a £43.9 million contract to design and build the Highways Agency A1 Coal House to Metro Centre improvement scheme in Gateshead.

The project will include the introduction of new parallel link roads between the Lobley Hill and Gateshead Quay (A184) junctions and an increase in lane capacity on the A1 main line from two to three lanes in each direction from the Metro Centre to Coal House junction, a distance of four miles.

The widening works will include the installation of reinforced earth and concrete walls and the Balfour Beatty patented King Sheet Piling System which will reduce the pile area and pile driving depth associated with traditional methods thereby reducing the overall construction  programme.  Alongside, extensive traffic management plans will allow the installation to be carried out during the day which will reduce noisy working during the night.

The existing merge and diverge arrangements will be reconfigured with the widened A1 carriageway requiring replacing and/or repositioning of fencing, road restraint systems, drainage, traffic signs, road markings, street lighting and technology structures.  Landscaping and accommodation works on the trunk road and local road networks will retain the existing cutting and embankment slopes.

The hardening of the central reserve between Coal House and Lobley Hill will maximise the availability for two lanes of traffic in each direction throughout the duration of the contract, minimising disruption for road users.

Balfour Beatty’s sustainable approach will include excavated material being utilised as part of the reinforced earth structure and verge fill, with existing road pavement planing being reused as the sub-base within the footway construction. Other excess materials will be taken off site and recycled on construction projects across the north east of England. In addition, the scheme will employ over 200 people at construction peak including a commitment to three apprentices and two graduates and a proactive approach to seeking opportunities for local small to medium enterprises throughout the duration of the project.

Nicholas Pollard, Chief Executive Officer, Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK, said:

“Originally built 40 years ago, this section of road is currently one of the more congested sections of road on the Highways Agency’s network. We are delighted to have been selected to carry out these essential improvement works which will increase road user capacity by 30%, reduce congestion and support regeneration and development, helping to boost the local economy.

”As a leading road designer, constructor, asset manager, technology and maintenance provider we have been working in partnership with the Highways Agency since 1994 and have collaborated with them and our supply chain to successfully deliver a number of their flagship projects such as the £371 million A3 Hindhead Tunnel and the £360million A46 Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Scheme.”

Balfour Beatty’s professional services division, Parsons Brinckerhoff, has provided design support for the scheme.

Works commence on site in late summer and are due for completion in early 2016.

Find out more about Construction Services UK


A1 improvement scheme plan - Coal House to Metro Centre.  

Media enquires to:
Scott Wilson
Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK
t: +44 (0)207 963 2150
m: +44 (0)7966 895011e:

Notes to editors:

1. Balfour Beatty’s UK Construction business is a leading road designer, constructor, asset manager and maintenance provider in the UK. Projects include traditional work through to the more complex design-build-finance-operate (DBFO) and early contractor involvement (ECI) schemes. Since 2009 we have been in partnership with Skanska, Atkins and Egis to deliver the £6.2 billion M25 DBFO project for the Highways Agency, including the widening of the Balfour Beatty awarded £43.9 million A1 improvement scheme by the Highways Agency motorway to four lanes and conversion to all-lane running, or ‘smart’ technology. Other schemes delivered recently include the £371 million A3 Hindhead Tunnel and the £360 million A46 Newark to Widmerpool Improvement Scheme. Balfour Beatty currently also operates the strategic road network on behalf of the Highways Agency in Area 4 (Kent,Surrey and East Sussex) and Area 10 (Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside), and operates the latest generation technology contract for the Highways Agency in the North West, as well as operating several road maintenance contracts for local authorities across the UK.

2. Balfour Beatty’s UK and Ireland construction business ( is a leading integrator of complex, sophisticated and innovative projects that improve the UK’s and Ireland’s national infrastructure and an experienced provider of local and regional projects that help build lasting communities.

We offer a broad range of capabilities in construction, civil engineering and mechanical & electrical engineering services.

With offices throughout the UK and Ireland, we deliver a locally-focused service with the support of our national network of expertise and resources.

Balfour Beatty’s UK and Ireland construction business employs 9,000 people.

3. Balfour Beatty ( is an international infrastructure group that delivers world class services essential to the development, creation and care of infrastructure assets; from finance and development, through design and project management to construction and maintenance.

Our businesses draw on more than 100 years of experience to deliver the highest levels of quality, safety and technical expertise to our clients principally in the UK, the US, South east Asia and the Middle East. We continue to develop our business in key growth markets in South Africa, Australia, Canada, Brazil and India.

With proven expertise in delivering infrastructure critical to support communities and society today and in the future, our key market sectors include transportation (roads, rail and aviation), power and energy, mining, water and social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools.

Balfour Beatty employs around 40,000 people worldwide.

Avatar for Media Team

Media Team

+44 (0)203 810 2345