UK-based construction company Taylor Woodrow Plus has secured a contract from Highways England to upgrade a transport corridor in England.

The project involves converting a nine-mile section of the A358 between the Southfield roundabout on the A303 and the M5 motorway at Taunton, Somerset, to a dual carriageway.

The £328m ($451m) contract was awarded to the company after a competitive procurement process through Highways England’s Regional Delivery Partnership framework.

Highways England said that although most of the corridor is a dual carriageway, there is currently a 35-mile single carriageway stretch.

This has resulted in traffic congestion, especially during the summer months and at weekends.

Upon completion, the upgrade scheme is expected to make journeys safer, reduce travel times and improve connectivity.

Highways England A358 programme leader Andrew Alcorn said: “We are delighted to be working with Taylor Woodrow Plus to move this vital scheme forward.

“Taylor Woodrow has an extensive track record of working with Highways England and delivering large-scale infrastructure projects, so we are confident they will deliver a scheme that will support economic growth, improve traffic flows at peak times and make the road safer.”

The upgrade is said to be vital to the A303/A358 corridor and is part of a long-term objective to create a dual carriageway link between the South East, including London, and the South West.

Preparatory works are already underway at the site, with Taylor Woodrow, in partnership with Arup and Ramboll, undertaking ground investigation and environmental surveys to inform their design proposals.

This is said to be in preparation for a statutory consultation on the proposals before the scheme’s Development Consent Order application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.

Taylor Woodrow managing director Julian Gatward said: “Taylor Woodrow Plus is pleased to have been awarded the contract to deliver such a significant improvement for motorists and the local community.

“Taylor Woodrow Plus brings together the expertise of Taylor Woodrow, Arup and Ramboll in delivering solutions from conception through to construction.

“Supported by Taylor Woodrow’s VINCI sister companies, we are committed to contributing to the local community whilst supporting economic growth in the area.”

In another development, Highways England has shortlisted three joint venture (JV) bidders for the construction of the Lower Thames Crossing road tunnel.

The three shortlisted bidders include BFV JV, Bouygues Murphy JV and Dragados-Hochtief JV.