A new way of maintaining and improving motorways and major A roads in the East of England launched today, Tuesday 1 October.
The new approach will see Highways England take a more hands-on role, directly managing both routine road maintenance and the delivery of capital renewal and improvement schemes.
Drivers will benefit from better, more direct, decisions about road safety and maintenance, and better value for money from the multi-million-pound investment which is made into the region’s roads each year.
Regional Operations Director for the East of England Martin Fellows said: ‘Bringing this innovative way of working to the East of England is another sign of our commitment to continually drive improvements in how the region’s busiest roads in the East of England are operated, maintained and improved.
‘This change brings more knowledge and expertise in-house and will build upon the existing capabilities of both our staff and our supply chain. It will help us gain a stronger than ever understanding of the condition of the regions’ roads, providing the opportunity to make better decisions on what essential maintenance is need and how long it will last.
‘And it also creates more flexible and efficient ways of working, that will underpin continual improvements to put safety, our customers and effective delivery at the heart of everything we do.’
The new arrangements are known as the Asset Delivery operating model, which was first introduced in 2016 and since then has been rolled out across the country in a managed and sustainable way. They replace the previous generation of contracts known as Asset Support Contracts. The East Midlands, South West and North West now have Asset Delivery in place, and with this change will see more than 70% of the road network working under the new model.
The East region includes the strategic routes in the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
There are three main contracts associated with asset delivery – Maintenance and Response, Design Services, and the Construction Works Framework:
- The Maintenance and Response contract will be delivered by Ringway, and includes routine highway maintenance services, repairs to defects, emergency incident response and severe weather services on the Highways England road network.
- The Design Services contract begins in January 2020 and will be delivered by Atkins Global. The contract involves preparing technical designs and undertaking supporting work for capital projects from an initial scheme feasibility phase through to the as-built phase.
- The Construction Works Framework commences in April 2020 and covers a range of activities that include renewal works to roads and bridges, and improvement scheme on the Highways England road network.
Ringway Managing Director, Mike Notman, said: ‘We are delighted to be part of Highways England’s journey as they move towards more proactive maintenance and response services. Our business has a strong presence in this region, and we are underpinning this local knowledge with a local team dedicated to delivering this vital service for people in the East of England.’
Ian Spellacey, Client Director at Atkins, said: ‘With safety, ease of maintenance and the end users in mind, our designs for the East of England’s road network will enable a safer and more reliable movement of people and goods across the region, supporting its economic growth.
‘Our appointment to this scheme is a great return to Atkins supporting Highways England in managing the road network and its assets in the future. We have a long history of working alongside Highways England in the region and look forward to showcasing the benefits of digital tools and innovative ways of working to the highways industry.’
The model is now in action in the East of England following the end of the existing asset support contract in the area, held by Kier, on 30 September.