26 Sep 2012

PFI contract to improve Island roads is signed

The contract under which the Island’s highways network will be brought up to, and maintained at, an unprecedented standard for 25 years has been signed.

The agreement between the Isle of Wight Council, Vinci Concessions and their partner Meridiam sets out the terms under which the Island’s network of adopted highways will be upgraded and maintained over the coming 25 years via the Highways PFI.
It was signed in London today (Wednesday) by senior figures from the council and Vinci Concessions.
Under the Highways PFI, £260 million (in today’s value or £487 million over the 25 years) of government grant will be used to carry out what is the biggest engineering project ever undertaken on the Island. The grant – which is not a loan that has to be repaid – is the largest sum of its type ever awarded to the Island.

It will mean that not only will every stretch of adopted road, footway, pavement and cycleway be upgraded, street cleansing, roadside and winter maintenance, the CCTV network, street furniture and road signs as well as all street-lighting will also be improved. The PFI will also include a number of schemes to stabilise the highways at some areas prone to ground movement, including the Military Road and the Undercliff at Niton.
Because these services will be delivered under one single new agreement, the cost of doing so will be cheaper - by around £1 million in the first year alone.
Signing of the contract means that Vinci through its partner Ringway will begin a period of mobilisation ahead of work starting in April next year. Around 65 council staff will also begin the process via which they transfer to the employment of Ringway. The Highways PFI work will be carried out under the name Island Roads.
'Unprecedented level of investment'

Councillor Edward Giles, cabinet member responsible for highways and transport, said: “This marks the final milestone in what has been a long and complex procurement process. Now the emphasis will be entirely on getting ready for the huge task ahead: that of bringing the Island’s road network up to the standards residents expect.
“We know that improving our roads is a high priority as far as residents are concerned and this unprecedented level of investment will give us a network of the highest quality for decades to come.
“What’s more, this new improved network will be delivered and maintained in a way that provides the very best value for council tax payers. Through the contract we will be getting better roads for less money which will help the council balance its books and protect services in what remain challenging financial times.”

Information meetings
Now the contract is signed, meetings will also be staged across the Island to explain more about the scheme and what it will mean to residents and businesses in the six geographical areas into which work will be divided.
Stuart Love, the council’s director of economy and the environment, said: “The Highways PFI will not only greatly improve our roads, this massive inward investment will also bring with it huge opportunities for local business.
“It will also leave us with a quality infrastructure that will help us attract new enterprises to the Island.”

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    Jay Jayasundara, PFI project director with PFI team members and advisors
    Jay Jayasundara, PFI project director with PFI team members and advisors
    • Under PFI, there will also be at least 120 separate schemes across the Island to tackle stretches of highway prone to rainwater flooding.
    • The contract will introduce public waste bin receptacles that allow pedestrians to recycle their rubbish.
    • Besides over 800 kilometers of highway it will also include 11,935 street lighting columns and a further 2,000-plus items of illuminated street signage.
    Isle of Wight, UK