BIRMINGHAM CITY Council has been given the green light for the UK's largest PFI highway maintenance deal, the Department for Transport confirmed this week.
An initial capital investment of £169M will be followed by staged payments totalling in excess of £2bn over the next 25 years.
Birmingham has almost 200km of principal roads, 237km of classified roads and over 2,000km of unclassified roads.
Recent surveys indicate that 15% of the city's principal roads are in a critical condition.
Birmingham City Council leader Albert Bore said the government had recognised that 'massive additional funding was required to bring all roads up to, and maintained at, an acceptable level'.
The scope of the contract, which will go out to tender in August 2004, will include roads, footways, street lighting, bridges, traffic signals and street furniture - together with management of utility works and on-going maintenance.
The council hopes to start on site within two years and then spend up to seven years tackling the backlog of repairs.
The contract will also include complete replacement of the city's 58,000 streetlights, as over 80% of the city's coverage reach 30 years old in the next five years. A further 34,000 streetlights will be installed over the course of the contract.