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TfL: Driving ahead with better roads for London

I think it is fair to say that 2012 was an incredible year for London’s road network, says Dana Skelley


Rush hour: New contract frameworks will encourage innovation and efficiency

From supporting the success of the greatest sporting event in the world to having to quickly repair vital flyovers and arterial roads, we’ve handled it all, and at the heart of this success has been a true collaboration between us, our contractors and the London boroughs to ensure that the work is delivered safely, efficiently, is top quality and with minimum disruption to all.

Following the success of the massive joint working that TfL, the London boroughs and all our contractors put in to support the London 2012 Games transport, in November we awarded four new area-based pan-London highways contracts. These new eight year contracts will help to deliver considerable efficiencies, encourage innovation and build on the valuable lessons learnt throughout 2012.

The new contract frameworks, developed jointly by TfL and the London boroughs, will cover both road maintenance and the design and construction of improvement schemes, and, for the first time, have the opportunity to apply to all roads across London. TfL will use these frameworks for TfL Road Network highway works from April 2013, and is expecting London boroughs to utilise them for TfL funded Local Implementation Plan schemes where they represent better value than existing arrangements.

Encouragingly, it is looking like around a third of the 32 London boroughs will be utilising these contracts for a range of maintenance services from April 2013. As more boroughs’ individual contracts come up for renewal more work is expected to be delivered through the frameworks with a potential total expenditure up to £2.6bn and a massive saving in tendering costs.

Each framework will run from April 2013 until the end of March 2021 and covers specific geographic areas of London. Until now, highways works have been carried out by a vast range of different contractors, carrying out similar activities on adjacent streets. By using these collaborative contracts, better use can be made of resources, plant and fleet, reducing costs which can be reinvested into further transport improvements and drive forward innovation. Using the NEC Term Services form of contract and embracing the ethos of partnering, a full understanding of cost will be gained through the open book target cost approach enshrined in the contracts.

The new contracts will also create hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities across London, helping to encourage young people into highway engineering and delivering a long lasting economic investment. Between 120 and 250 apprentices will be enabled through the contract term tackling the somewhat ageing demographic seen in the highways industry. We expect the highest standards of safety from our suppliers, and contractors will also be required to fit all vehicles exceeding 3,500kg (including those used by subcontractors) with sideguards, close proximity sensors and prominent signage to warn cyclists about the dangers of passing on the inside of the vehicle .

The contracts will enable maximum efficiency in delivery of the vital investment needed in highway infrastructure to support London’s growth and economy. The benefits for London’s road users range from better value for money to better coordination of works making the customer experience of the street environment ever better. Collaboration between private and public sector, across public sector clients and across contractors looks to be giving London the best deal for the future.

Dana Skelley is director of roads at Transport for London

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