Falkirk Council: Work to start around Westfield road network as £40m contract with Balfour Beatty agreed

Work to widen the roads and construct crossing points around Westfield roundabout is expected to start in the summer after councillors agreed to appoint an engineering contractor to the project.
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Members of Falkirk Council’s executive heard on Tuesday that Balfour Beatty has been working on the project’s pre-construction development. Paul Kettrick, head of Invest Falkirk, said that appointing them would have “clear advantages of continuity of delivery”, while their “in-depth knowledge and understanding of the project would be of benefit”.

The project will take just over two years to deliver, and with the appointment now given the green light, council officers anticipate the 28-month construction contract will be signed in July. The road-widening project originally included plans to build an overbridge to link all four corners of the site – including Helix Park and Falkirk Stadium – but it was cancelled as costs rose to more than £25 million for the bridge alone. The new version of the project, however, has been given £14 million of Levelling Up funding from the UK Government to help ensure there are safe crossing places for pedestrians and cyclists.

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The overall project – estimated to cost around £40 million – has been funded by Falkirk Council’s innovative Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) programme, which means it borrows against future business rates that the infrastructure will attract.

The work will take place at Westfield as part of the A9/A904 improvementsThe work will take place at Westfield as part of the A9/A904 improvements
The work will take place at Westfield as part of the A9/A904 improvements

Falkirk Council says that having already worked with Balfour Beatty during the early planning stages, it has gained “invaluable knowledge about construction approaches and a clearer understanding of project costs that will help ensure the effective and efficient delivery of the work”. The report to councillors said that the new road layout would also be key to finally delivering the long anticipated Gateway site, across the A9 from the Helix and it promises this will be a “vibrant mix of retail, leisure, residential, and business facilities”.

Falkirk Council leader, Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, welcomed the project taking another step forward. She said: “This is a significant infrastructure investment that will enable the economic development to progress within the area and improve the flow, reducing some of the emissions with idling that often happens with the backlog of vehicles in that area.”

The report stressed that Balfour Beatty was appointed to the national framework by SCAPE Procure Scotland through a fully compliant competitive tender process using industry standard contract documentation, selection and award criteria. The report also states that the estimated construction contract value is up to £40 million, but the final cost will be confirmed before the contract is signed.