A ground-breaking ceremony on Tuesday 17 April marked the official start of works on the state-of-the-art £225 million Luton DART fast transit system, linking London Luton Airport with Luton Airport Parkway railway station.
The Luton DART will be a double-shuttle, fully-automated people-mover (APM) based on latest system technology and design innovation, and capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cable-driven system is energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
The project’s civils works will be undertaken by VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier joint venture and the transportation system by Doppelmayr Cable Car UK Ltd.
The project has full planning permission from Luton and Central Bedfordshire councils, and is on track to be ready for operation by spring 2021. It will create 500 construction jobs over three years, 30 apprenticeships, and 17 permanent positions.
Lord Porter of Spalding, Chairman of the Local Government Association, turned the first sods of earth at the ceremony, watched by Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Council, and Cllr Andy Malcolm, Chair of the Council’s airport company London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL).
Cllr Hazel Simmons, Leader of Luton Council, said: “The Luton DART will benefit not only airport passengers but also the people and businesses of Luton, in that it supports our ambitions to secure long-term economic growth and ensure local people have access to high-quality employment opportunities. We are all looking forward to the Luton DART opening in 2021.”
Richard Offord, managing director of VolkerFitzpatrick, said: “We are very pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with Luton through this important project that will improve accessibility for the airport. This exciting contract will see us utilising a combination of our expertise in highways, airports and rail infrastructure.
“Together with our joint venture partner Kier, we will be engaging with the local community and supply chain in the delivery of this scheme and seeking to offer job opportunities, apprenticeships and placements to local residents.”
Nigel Brook, Kier executive director, construction and infrastructure services, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this important scheme for London Luton Airport. It will transform journey times for airport visitors and showcases our capability to deliver large infrastructure projects across the country following the recently completed Mersey Gateway Bridge and current projects with HS2 and Crossrail.
"Working in joint venture with VolkerFitzpatrick, we are looking forward to seeing the role this plays in an exciting future both for the airport and Luton.”
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