The shock departure of the Highways Agency's major projects director Keith Miller this week raised fears about the future of key projects such as the M25 widening.
The Agency confirmed that major projects director Keith Miller is to be replaced less than two months after procurement director Steve Rowsell announced his intention to quit in March (NCE
14 December 2006).The two men pioneered the Agency's innovative Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) procurement model, revamped its approach to private finance and were chiefly responsible for procuring the Agency's £1bn per year major projects programme.'You have got to ask what the Agency is now going to do about schemes such as the M25. We're right in the middle of the protracted tendering process and the two men who were trying to procure it have gone,' said one major roads contractor. A shortlist for the £5bn widening of the remaining three-lane sections of the M25 motorway was announced last October (NCE
19 October 2006).'It sounds like an excuse for more reviews and to push it back two years,' said the contractor. 'It's in a state of turmoil,' added another. Miller is understood to have fallen foul of Agency chief executive Archie Robertson's move to strengthen the organisation's commercial management after coming under fire for failing to control costs.