Kier awarded National Highways contract

Tebay from the River Lune

National Highways has appointed Kier to carry out an essential maintenance programme on eight bridges spanning the M6 in Cumbria. 

The concrete structures are rapidly approaching the end of their serviceable life and each of them will either be repaired or refurbished.

The bridge renewal scheme through Lune Gorge covers a six-mile stretch of the motorway between junctions 37 and 38. 

Seven of the bridges support the M6 itself, while the remaining bridge carries the A685 over it.

The bridges include Castle Howe, Galloper Well, Tebay, Roundthwaite, Jefferys, Lawtland House, Borrowbeck Viaduct and Highgill North and South. 

All vary in size, with Roundthwaite being the longest structure at 142 metres.

Scott Cooper, managing director at Kier Transportation, major projects, said: “This is an important project for the area and the millions of people that travel on the M6 every year. 

“It builds on our expertise in delivering major projects across the country and, working together with National Highways, we are exploring the least disruptive options to replace the eight bridges to keep people connected.” 

Khalid El-Rayes, senior project manager at National Highways, added: “We know how important the M6 is to help connect people, communities and businesses. 

“However, safety is our top priority and these improvements are vital because the structures are nearing the end of their serviceable life.

“The repairs will reduce the risk of unplanned lane closures due to deterioration and ensure the M6 continues to support the regions of Cumbria and Yorkshire for years to come. 

“In the meantime, we’re meeting in person with customers and organisations located near to the scheme and will keep an open dialogue throughout the process.”

The main construction phase will run for three-and-a-half years, with works due to start in summer 2026 and expected to be completed by winter 2029. 

Kier Design Solutions (KDS) has already commenced its three-year design stage for the contract, with plans beginning earlier this year. 

The M6 through Lune Gorge is regularly voted the most beautiful stretch of motorway in the country and recently celebrated its 50th birthday in 2020.  

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