Trio wins £35m Liverpool highways contracts

Three road maintenance and civil engineering firms will share £35m worth of contracts to upgrade more than 100 roads in Liverpool. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool City Council is to upgrade more than 100 roads at a cost of £35m


Two Merseyside firms and one from West Sussex will deliver upgrades to more than 100 roads across Liverpool, sharing contracts worth £35m.

Liverpool based Dowhigh will deliver 39 schemes, Knowsley firm Huyton Asphalt Civils will take on 33 projects and Colas, based in West Sussex, will work on 36 road upgrades.

Liverpool City Council’s highways and transportation department has awarded the contracts. They are being funded from a number of sources including the city council, the Combined Authority and the Department for Transport.

In a “data-led” programme, the city is divided into three areas – north, central and south. There is a priority criteria which classifies highways schemes into two categories – simple and complex.

A simple scheme will be deemed one that only requires a maintenance intervention of relatively small scale and complexity. These simple schemes will be the first to be delivered and the local communities will be informed in advance.

Complex schemes are subject to additional interventions/design considerations, such as active travel, and changes to the traffic regulation order. These will be delivered at a later stage in the programme. Local communities and key stakeholders will be informed as they progress.

This new approach has been developed in response to criticism from the Best Value report last year on how investment in highways had been managed.

Based in Netherton, Dowhigh is a £13m turnover business that specialises in road schemes for local authorities. Huyton Asphalt Civils has a similar profile. It turns over more than £14m a year and has already delivered work for the city council. It stepped on the Lime Street project when the original contractor collapsed.

Colas is a much bigger company that works both in the UK and overseas. It turns over more than £250m a year and among its significant delivered projects was the resurfacing of the runway at the Falklands Islands airport.

The delivery of the Liverpool schemes has been designed to ensure the schedule of works will minimise impact in any one area. This will avoid clashes with longer term schemes already in place.

Cllr Dan Barrington, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “They are all experienced firms with a long track record of delivery in the city region. The local supply chain will benefit greatly from this investment.

“Some schemes will begin immediately and we know this will mean disruption but the long term gains for our communities will be worth it, with safer roads for everyone to use.

“In response to the Best Value report last year we’ve also radically changed how we evaluate our roads to ensure we invest in the right areas and that the contracts deliver the right results.

“Having a data-led, geo-based approach also ensures intelligence-led programming to avoid any clashes on the network and prevent longer journeys and more pollution.”

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