County Council’s new approach to roads

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Gloucestershire County Council has decided on a new approach to maintaining the county’s highways as part of a £150 million investment and detailed review.

Once the authority’s five-year contract with Amey has finished, it will no longer use just one organisation to deliver highways maintenance, support and structural design. Instead, over the next 18 months it will invite proposals from providers on how they can deliver three main aspects of the county’s roads. The first contract will be asking organisations to demonstrate how they can efficiently maintain the county’s highways. This will include things such as managing the upkeep of gullies, winter gritting and snow clearing, repairing damages to the road and cutting back verges and grass.

The second contract will include the structural maintenance of Gloucestershire highways, such as large resurfacing schemes. Lastly, the council is holding a tender exercise that will look at proposals for how its specialist projects can be managed. This will include large scale projects, like the recently successful Elmbridge Court roundabout, and supporting council staff on things such as specialised design work on bridges, landslips and drainage schemes. Some of the day-to-day operational decision making and design will be managed and delivered by an in-house council team. It is thought that around 45 current posts would transfer from Amey into the council as a result.

The council is investing £150 million in Gloucestershire’s roads over the next five years and says the new way of working needs to be effective in maximising the impact of this money. To help with putting together these proposals, council officers have visited several other shire counties to see how they manage their highways. They have also spoken with Highways England to learn from their experiences. Cllr Vernon Smith, cabinet member for highways at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We’ve been doing our homework very thoroughly. I’m confident this approach makes sure that we will make the most of the council’s five-year £150 million investment and deliver value for money. “The new contracts will give us the additional flexibility we need in the future. We already have separate contracts, for example for street lighting, traffic signals and major schemes – like the Elmbridge Court Roundabout improvements – so we are well versed in working this way.”