Preferred highways contractor named

Leading councillors have been recommended to authorise the award of a contract to maintain Suffolk’s highways to Balfour Beatty Living Places at a meeting on December 11.

If approved by Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet, and subject to the formal legal procedures for awarding the contract, it will mean Balfour Beatty Living Places will be responsible for the design and implementation of highway maintenance and improvement works, winter gritting, street lighting, traffic signals and bridge works throughout the county.

The procurement process identified Balfour Beatty Living Places as the contractor best placed to meet the needs of the county council and deliver high quality service to Suffolk residents and visitors.

It follows a nine month process in which tenders from five contractors were rigorously assessed against a range of performance and value for money criteria.

The contract is due to start on 1 April 2013 and will be in place for at least five years.

The key objective will be to achieve £2 million or recurring revenue savings in year 2013-14 and to help the council’s transport department achieve efficiency savings of 1.5 per cent per year.

As well as continuing to provide a high quality highway service, Balfour Beatty Living Places will improve the availability of information about work on the highway, improve Suffolk’s environmental performance and contribute to the local economy through use of local companies, commitment to apprenticeships and action to raise skill levels.

Councillor Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for roads and transport, said: “We are committed to ensuring the best service is delivered to residents, businesses and road users across the county throughout this contract.

“As preferred bidder, Balfour Beatty Living Places is the company which submitted the very best bid both in terms of price and quality.

“It will provide excellent value for money for the residents of Suffolk.”

If the proposals are approved, approximately some 200 Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council staff will be transferred, under TUPE rules, to Balfour Beatty Living Places in April 2013.

Cabinet will also be asked to decide whether arrangements should be made with district and borough councils to carry out some smaller scale highways functions.

Proposed responsibilities include grass cutting for highway safety purposes, horticultural and arboricultural services and winter service for town centre pavements.

If approved, this arrangement would also come into effect on April 1.

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (January 3) Echo.