Today started with the news that a Japanese high speed rail firm is to open its first UK office this month as it reveals it is working with HS2 Ltd. On roads, the cost of potholes has deepened.
The cost of repairing potholes has increased to £12bn from £10.5bn and compensation claims have soared by 20% in the past year, according to a respected survey.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) said in its Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey that for the second year running over 2M potholes had been filled, but that it expected that damage caused by this winter’s record rainfall to have counteracted much of that work.
The number of compensation claims for personal injury or damage to vehicles has increased by 20% to an average of £540 for each local authority in England (excluding London where the figures remain the same as the previous year) and 141 for councils in Wales. The total cost of compensation claims due to poor road condition, including the cost of staff time spent processing them, amounted to £31.6M across England and Wales over the last year. Payouts on claims accounted for only £16.6M of this, with the remaining £15M (up from £13M) being staff costs incurred by local authorities processing claims.
Urging central government to introduce an “invest to save” policy, AIA chairman Alan Mackenzie said: “These figures are disappointing for everyone who has worked hard together on the Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) initiated by the Department for Transport. It’s thanks to HMEP that so many highways departments have successfully made the case to their councils to invest in more repair to avoid further deterioration and costs. To see that work washed away is discouraging to say the least.
“The government has recently made significant additional funds available to help combat the results of the relentless rainfall this winter but money spent on repairing damage never goes as far as money invested in planned, preventative maintenance,” said Mackenzie. “It costs at least 20 times more per square metre to fill a pothole than it does to resurface a road.”
Nearly two-thirds (65%) of local authorities in England were affected by the adverse winter weather.
Motts wins work on Gdańsk port
Deepwater Container Terminal Gdańsk (DCT Gdańsk) has appointed consultant Mott MacDonald to carry out construction design services for a new €160M (£132M) quay at the Port of Gdańsk in Poland. The upgraded terminal will be capable of handling 3M TEU (twenty-foot equivalent container units) a year.
The consultant will design a new deep water quay adjacent to the existing deep water quay and new container stacking yards which will operationally link with existing facilities. This includes the deepening of the existing harbour basin, new buildings and redevelopment of existing buildings, new utility facilities such as electrical substations and a main substation building, as well as underground utilities installations. Once complete, the new quay will accomodate the world’s largest container vessels.
The quay is due to be completed by the end of 2016.
Japanese high speed rail operator East Japan Railway Company (JR-East) is to open its first UK office this month.
The firm also said it has been appointed to advise HS2 Ltd. JR-East will advise HS2 on matters such as reliability, safety and punctuality, covering technical and management advice including station management, noise countermeasures and construction issues.
Headquartered in Tokyo, JR-East currently operates nearly 1,700 stations in Japan, catering for around 17M passengers and overseeing around 13,000 train journeys every day.
JR-East’s new London office will open on 15 April.
“We anticipate a fantastic future for high speed rail both in the UK and in throughout Europe,” said JR-East vice chairman Masaki Ogata. “Opening our new London office at this exciting time is the right thing for JR-East and means we can more easily support our clients, partners and suppliers.”
HS2 Ltd technical director professor Andrew McNaughton said: “HS2 is an enormous undertaking. It is the largest and most complex infrastructure project ever in the UK. So, it is essential we explore the best ways in which we can learn from international experience. JR-East is respected across the world, having been part of a high speed rail transport system connecting Japan’s biggest cities that has run to the highest degrees of comfort, reliability and safety for 50 years. We are very pleased to be working with one of the world’s great experts.”