Fewer potholes, more work for local businesses and more satisfied communities are among the goals of a new multi-million pound highways contract for Somerset signed today.
Somerset County Council and Skanska have agreed a deal for highways maintenance in the county which will run from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2024, with the option to extend for a further three years based on performance.
Highways maintenance covers everything from resurfacing and filling potholes to responding to emergencies and gritting roads.
As part of the winning bid, Skanska will be working with the County Council to deliver a number of benefits, ranging from visiting local schools to helping the County Council secure maximum funding from the Government.
Skanska is committed to reducing the number of potholes through preventative work such as drainage improvements and resurfacing; making sure supply chain spend remains in local communities by supporting suitable local businesses wherever possible; and boosting customer satisfaction by providing a more responsive service.
The contractor will also identify further savings and apply industry best-practice to ensure the contract offers the best possible deal for taxpayers.
Cllr David Fothergill, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “The signing of a new Term Maintenance Contract may not sound very exciting, but it covers a lot of services which we know are very important to people.
“It’s great news that we’ve been able to secure a value for money deal with several enhancements. One of the goals which I know will be popular includes a commitment to reducing the number of potholes over the life of the contract. We’ll also be looking to improve customer satisfaction and make sure that at least 85 per cent of the supply chain spend stays in the local community.
“We’re proud of the work already being carried out with Skanska but are already working hard to do even better once the new contract begins in April.”
Simon White, Operations Director for Skanska, said: “We are delighted to continue our delivery of highways maintenance services for Somerset County Council. This long-term partnership enables us to deliver a responsive and high-quality highways maintenance service for communities and road users across Somerset.
“Using our locally based teams and suppliers, combined with innovative solutions from across our business, we will help maintain and improve roads across the county.”
Skanska was awarded the contract following an extensive procurement process which was carried out jointly with Devon and Plymouth Councils to ensure competitiveness and to put in place opportunities for future collaborative working.
Although the procurement process was joint, Devon County Council and Plymouth City Council will each have their own contract. The authorities and their contractors will work together through the lifetime of the contracts to continually improve the cost effectiveness of their highway services. Devon has also agreed to appoint Skanska as its new contractor, while Plymouth City Council awarded its contract to South West Highways Ltd.
For Somerset, the exact value of the contract will vary depending on how much work is ordered and carried out, although it is likely to be in the region of £20m per year.