M6 Toll Road consortium in hunt for full-service agency

Midlands Expressway, the consortium behind the first UK toll motorway, is to appoint a full-service agency to take on an integrated marketing campaign.

M6 Toll Road managing director Tom Fanning says he has drawn up a shortlist of three agencies to make a full pitch and hopes to make a decision by the end of February. Fanning is being assisted by the AAR.

Formerly known as the Birmingham Northern Relief Road, the six-lane highway is scheduled to open in 2004, to relieve congestion on the M6. It runs 26 miles from Coleshill in Warwickshire to Laney Green, Staffordshire and is costing &£485m to build under a controversial private finance initiative with funding from Bank of America and Abbey National Treasury Services as loans.

Midlands Expressway, a joint venture between the Macquarie Infrastructure group of Australia and Autostade of Italy, will be the concession holder for 50 years. The toll is likely to be priced at &£2.50 and has been criticised for being too high.

Construction is being carried out by a consortium comprising AMEC, Alfred McAlpine, Balfour Beatty and Carillion – known collectively as the CAMBBA group.

Fanning says he is not looking for a marketing director at this stage.

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