Our projects

Widening a busy stretch of the M1

Clever design, sustainable construction and well-planned communications helped us deliver this civil engineering project under budget, five months early.

When the Highways Agency asked us to widen 24km of the M1, as well as bringing the project in under budget, we also completed this civil engineering project five months ahead of schedule.

Extra lanes were needed on both sides, including drainage and signal gantries. So careful construction management was key - for traffic as well as local stakeholders.

Applying value civil engineering from day one, we delivered cost reductions of £20 million through clever design, material selection and lean construction techniques.

Alongside construction, we preserved and built new habitats, planting indigenous woodlands where possible for local wildlife.

All was delivered safely with minimal disruption, thanks to innovative traffic management and detailed coordination onsite.


    • Client: Highways Agency
    • Sector: Infrastructure
    • Value: £300m
    • Size: 24km stretch (3 to 4 lanes)
    • Location: Midlands
    • Services: McAlpine Design Group, Construction Support, Pre-Construction, Civil Engineering

I’d like to thank you for your assistance, openness and highly impressive professionalism in your dealing with us before and throughout the M1 widening works.

Michael Bruce, Planning Officer, Broxtow Borough Council

Design expertise

To reduce cost and programme, we reconfigured the carriageways to a compact motorway design (CMD).

A first for long stretches of motorway in the UK, this not only delivered a significant saving, it also minimised footprint. As a result it meant replacing only one of 46 bridges along the route.

Raising the bridge at the M1
Construction on the M1 widening

Construction expertise

  • The length (and cost) of retaining walls were minimised through cost-effective, sustainable construction techniques like gabions and soil nailing.

  • We analysed pavement design to develop cost-effective construction methods. Then we worked with the Environment Agency to develop a solution which meant we could recycle the removed pavement rather than disposing of it as hazardous waste.

  • Thanks to extensive testing and analysis we were able to keep 60% of the hard shoulder as part of the new inside lane, delivering a 16,000t reduction in CO2.


To help minimise the amount sent to landfill, we reused materials wherever possible.

  • Excavated footings and drainage pipes were all crushed and reused.
  • 100,000m3 of excavated ground was diverted from landfill and used to re-profile the site compound and local farmland.
  • 30,000m3 was used to create a motorway embankment for a local farmer.
Aerial of the M1 Widening

Preserving habitats

Our team worked with the client and Environment Agency to limit tree felling and preserve local species.

  • 150,000 trees and shrubs were planted along the route. 
  • Wildlife was preserved through reptile surveys, bat and bird boxes.
  • Project volunteers also worked with a nearby school to enhance the ecology of its small woodland, helping make the most of an under-used educational resource.


  1. awards

    Considerate Constructor Scheme Awards


  2. awards icon - light green

    Green Apple Environment Awards