This week marks the start of the £2.7 billion highways PFI, as Birmingham City Council’s long term partner Amey begins the upgrade and maintenance of the city’s infrastructure network for the next 25 years.
The start of the contract marks a substantial boost for the region by securing a large number of jobs, with around 250 employees transferring from the council to work on the project with Amey. A further 300 jobs will be created over the next year as work on the city’s network increases.
Amey will be responsible for improving and maintaining Birmingham highways infrastructure, including 2,500km of road network, nearly 100,000 street lights, as well as over 850 highway structures and bridges across the city, during the 25-year service delivery contract.
Amey has also committed to tackling unemployment and worklessness in the city by looking to recruit unemployed local people onto the contract and work on this has already begun. This includes recruiting five young people from the council’s futures job fund initiative to start work as aboricultural, streetlighting and road operatives.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the start of the Birmingham Highways PFI and launch this important partnership between Amey and Birmingham City Council,” said Amey chief executive Mel Ewell.
“This significant project will not only deliver an enhanced level of service to Birmingham but will improve the city’s highway infrastructure for the travelling public in the region.”
“This is the start of a grand vision for Birmingham, not only through surface improvements to the highways landscape, but is also a boost to the heart of the local economy,” said Birmingham City Council Councillor Timothy Huxtable.
“This is a highways maintenance project on a scale that has never been undertaken anywhere before in any part of the country. We will pride ourselves on the quality of our streets, roads and lighting and make Birmingham a much better place to live”.
“We are also hopeful that Amey will be able to use local sub-contractors and supply chain partners using the new ‘finditinbirmingham’ website so that small and medium sized companies can also benefit from this contract.
“Ultimately, businesses and residents will invest in a city that invests in itself”.
Amey, in partnership with Birmingham City Council’s Highways service, will be delivering a step change of improvements to the city’s road network over the first five years to remove any backlog of work and increase standards. Amey will maintain the infrastructure at this improved standard for a further 20 years.
This will see Amey over the next few months attending meetings with elected members and members of the public to listen to their views on highways maintenance. Councillors and residents will be able to highlight maintenance priorities that they want Amey to focus on in their community.
Amey will also be conducting detailed inspections and surveys of the city’s road network, including structures such as bridges and tunnels to help determine the future programme of works and identify priority areas in need of repair.
While improvement works are being undertaken, Amey will also be working closely with Birmingham City Council’s Highways service to minimise congestion, and enable people’s journeys to be as smooth and safe as possible. This will help maintain business as usual for commuters and members of the public while roads in the city are being resurfaced and new pavements laid.
Amey will also be supporting the development of the council’s overall traffic management strategy, which looks to reduce congestion and improve road safety on the city’s road network.through its work at the council’s urban traffic control centre.