Connect Plus consortium wins M25 widening contract

LONDON, May 8 (Reuters) - Britain’s Highways Agency said on Thursday Connect Plus was its provisional preferred bidder for a contract to widen most of the remaining three-lane sections of London’s M25 orbital motorway to four lanes.

Connect Plus, a consortium consisting of Atkins ATKW.L, Balfour Beatty BALF.L, Egis Projects, and Skanska SKAb.ST, will design, build, finance and operate the so-called DBFO project.

Egis is a 100 percent-owned unit of French state-owned financial institution Caisse des Depots.

Aside from widening stretches of the M25 -- from junctions 5 to 7 and junctions 16 to 30 -- Connect Plus will be responsible for maintaining the motorway over a 30-year period.

The Highways Agency said it expected to award the M25 DBFO contract in late 2008. (Reporting by Dan Lalor; editing by Sue Thomas)