Ken Skates MS, Minister for Economy and Transport
I am writing to inform members that Welsh Government officials have recently completed a comprehensive and robust tender evaluation to identify a Preferred Bidder for the first of the Welsh Government’s Mutual Investment Model schemes – the Heads of the Valleys A465 Section 5 and 6 project. Sections 5 and 6 (the 18km length between Dowlais Top, Merthyr Tydfil and Hirwaun) are the westernmost sections of the dualling programme and currently remain a single carriageway.
I am delighted to announce that Future Valleys (FCC, Roadbridge, Meridiam, Alun Griffiths (Contractors) and Atkins) has been appointed Preferred Bidder.
Future Valleys is a consortium comprising large international construction companies, alongside established financial investors – each with significant experience of working in partnership with the public sector – partnered with Welsh contractors and design teams with knowledge of the area and the local supply chain.
The appointment of a Preferred Bidder is an important milestone. While the final stage of the procurement now begins in earnest, due to be completed by the end of October 2020, this project in due course will see the completion of dualling of the A465 and the creation of an important piece of economic infrastructure. In a post-Covid 19 and post-Brexit Wales, the completed A465 Heads of the Valleys dualling has the potential to deliver economic growth which will be vital to the people of Wales. The Welsh Government has and will continue to invest to ensure this region is a competitive and connected component of the UK economy.
I expect the project to deliver around £400m of direct spend in Wales, with GVA generated for the wider Welsh economy at over £675m, Furthermore I expect to see £170m of spending with the local supply chain, supporting the objectives of the Valleys Task Force. This level of investment will be of critical importance as the Welsh economy strives to recover from the challenges of the ongoing Covid 19 pandemic.
In addition, delivery of the previously completed sections of the A465 dualling have been highly successful in generating a range of community benefits, including apprenticeships and training, employment of local people and businesses, spend with Welsh companies, engagement with local schools and colleges and supporting community groups and events. I expect this project to be even more successful in the delivery of community benefits.