Plymouth appoints new highways contractor

We have appointed South West Highways as the new contractor for our highways maintenance services.

Cabinet members have given the preferred bidder the green light after a rigorous procurement process and contracts are due to be signed next month, following a statutory ‘standstill’ period.

South West Highways will take over from our current provider in April 2017 and the deal will be for an initial term of seven years, with opportunities to extend the contract by up to three years.

As part of its winning bid, South West Highways has committed to providing dedicated customer liaison officers and a public information portal where people can view current and upcoming works and get real-time progress updates for each site. It will also trial innovative technology, such as gully monitoring software to reduce the risk of flooding on the highway. 

The procurement was carried out in partnership with Somerset and Devon County Councils, who were tendering their highways contracts at the same time. Sharing these costs means better value for money for all three councils, as well as local taxpayers.

Companies were invited to tender for one, two or all three contracts. Devon County Council is due to announce its successful bidder tomorrow (Wednesday 14 September) and Somerset will announce its decision at a later date.

Whichever contractor is appointed by each individual council, the three will continue to work collaboratively to find ways of achieving ‘more for less’ – for example by co-ordinating activity, procuring materials together, jointly managing contracts and extending schemes into neighbouring areas where it makes practical and financial sense. 

Councillor Steve Ricketts, Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport and Housing Delivery, said: “We’ve made it a priority to keep Plymouth moving and we want residents to receive a highways service that is efficient, innovative and customer-focussed.

“We’ve gone through a detailed tender evaluation covering a range of criteria – from planned and reactive maintenance and resilience to innovation and value for money – to select the bidder that will best meet the needs of the Council and its customers.

“There’s an ever-growing expectation on councils to demonstrate efficiencies and collaborative working and we’ll be building on the links we’ve forged with Devon and Somerset during the procurement process to explore ways of achieving this together.”