Nearly two thirds of specialist highways firms fear they will be forced to turn down chances to tender for work because of chronic skills shortages.

A new survey of the sector highlights how contractors and consultants are struggling to meet demand as infrastructure investment increases.

Companies quizzed in The Highways UK skills survey said the shortages were most severe in core engineering and design skills.

Paul Wheeler, content director with Highways UK said: “Previous work on the skills gap in construction and infrastructure has looked across the entire sector.

“And while this produces eye-wateringly scary headlines, the analysis has not drilled down sufficiently to allow an informed view on what that means in terms of delivering projects on the ground within individual sectors, such as Highways.”