More major projects in the pipeline than on the ground
It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for the infrastructure construction sector in recent years largely due to funding issues. With the majority of funding coming from public sources, changes in budget allocations and budget cuts have put a stranglehold on many project developments. However, if the latest AMA Research report is anything to go by, things are looking up for the future.
Will 2018 be the turning point?
The research report highlights a number of areas where funding has been specifically earmarked for infrastructure projects. Under the National Infrastructure Plan £15bn was allocated for capital enhancements and renewals for the period 2015/16 to 2020/21. This combined with a push to develop infrastructure in the North as well as Highways England’s Collaborative Delivery Framework, all point to 2018 as the year when the tide starts to turn. The construction projects that have been in the pipeline for some time may well come to fruition and start to see development happening on the ground.
New works and upgrades
As traffic congestion becomes more of a problem there seems to be a push to develop alternate routes which include new crossings and tunnels in the London area. There is also a major drive to upgrade highways on major routes, turning many of them into smart motorways. These upgrades require not only traditional roadworks but will also incorporate digital technologies which will require specialist skills and knowledge.
In addition to new works Highways England has a maintenance budget of £1,3bn for the period 2019 to 2020. If traffic congestion continues to increase as predicted it will result in higher than normal wear and tear. There are questions if even this maintenance budget will be enough to keep roads pothole free and prevent traffic disruptions.
Major rail developments on the cards
While in recent years there has been a steady decline in new rail developments, there is £38bn earmarked for rail construction up until 2019. This will support a number of major projects that are due to come online in the near future, including: main tunneling works on the Northern Line to Battersea; the Bank Station redevelopment project; the Metropolitan Line extension project; and electrification of several cross country routes.
Government has promised to continue to invest more in infrastructure and if this happens then the infrastructure constructions sector is going to be kept very busy in the coming years.