Contracts worth more than £630million have been awarded for the construction of the £1.5billion A14 upgrade between Huntingdon and Cambridge.

Highways England has announced today the names of the contractors overseeing the early stages of the build, should it be granted permission to go ahead.

Costain Skanska, a joint venture between the two engineering giants, has been selected to build two sections, one between Alconbury and the East Coast Mainline, and the other between the East Coast Mainline and Swavesey.

The pre-construction phase is worth £1m while the building work will cost £598m.

A contract for a third piece of work, the widening of the existing A14 from Swavesey to Milton, is due to be awarded in the summer.

Meanwhile, Atkins CH2M, another partnership between two firms, has won the detailed design contract worth a total of £35.3m.

The planning application for the upgrade was submitted at the end of December and is currently being examined by an inspector - a process which will last six months.

If given planning permission, Highways England says construction could start late next year, with the new bypass and widened A14 open by 2020.

Chris Taylor, Highways England's lead on the upgrade scheme, said: “We have raised the standards we expect from our supply partners – we expect quality of performance and for them to work collaboratively to deliver the excellence that our customers and stakeholders expect of us.”

He added: “While we appreciate our planning application is yet to be fully examined by the Planning Inspectorate and we are yet to receive permission to start construction, these appointments will give us the support we need to prepare for works getting underway on time and to budget.”

Andrew Wyllie, chief executive of Costain, said: “The A14 is a strategically vital transport corridor and we are delighted to have secured the development stage of this major improvement project.

“It reflects our reputation for delivering solutions to infrastructure needs in long-term, strategic partnerships with customers.”

Glennan Blackmore, operations director, Skanska said: “We are extremely proud to be part of the team that will deliver significant infrastructure improvement to the strategic roads network, the region and the UK economy.”

Philip Hoare, group managing director for Atkins' transportation division said: “The A14 scheme will bring a much-needed and long-awaited improvement to the road network between Huntingdon and Cambridge that will significantly improve performance and customer experience when it opens in 2020.

“Along with our partner CH2M, we are delighted to have been awarded the design contract for the scheme and look forward to providing our expertise and innovation to support Highways England in the successful delivery of this important project.”

Peter McDermott, CH2M's director of highways and bridges, said: “CH2M is delighted to be partnering with Atkins to deliver this important project.

“We have a long history of working for Highways England road upgrade programmes and look forward to continuing this relationship on a project that will bring about massive improvements to the road network in Cambridgeshire and provide a major boost to the economy in East Anglia.”