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Three bidders shortlisted for £3bn Essex highways deal

Essex County Council has shortlisted three bidders to create what will be the largest integrated highways partnership in the UK worth up to £3bn over 10 years.

The project will see several existing contracts to operate Essex’s highways replaced with one single long-term partnership. The move is intended to deliver significant savings whilst providing improved service levels.

The bidders progressing to the next stage are Balfour Beatty, a Jacobs/Ringway joint venture and Transforming Highway Services, a consortium of Costain, Serco and Capita Symonds.

Seven bidders initially expressed an interest in the contract. The four no longer in the running are Amey, Atkins, May Gurney/WSP and Mouchel/Carillion.

The shortlisted bidders will continue their dialogue with Essex County Council in order to help define the partnership structure and delivery of services in more detail. Detailed tenders will be submitted in August and a preferred bidder will be selected in September.

The contract is due to start in 2012, with an anticipated duration of 10 years with an option of a five year extension. It is expected to be worth between £500M and £3bn.

The work is expected to include contracting services such as highways and structures maintenance and improvement works for schemes up £500,000 along with consultancy work such as inspections, minor scheme design and transportation planning.

The winning firm will also manage and develop Essex’s traffic control centre and take charge of street lighting.

Essex County Council is operating as lead authority on behalf of itself and for the benefit of local boroughs and districts, unitaries, Police authorities, Primary Care Trusts, fire services, ambulance services, other local authorities and the East of England Highways Alliance.

Essex intends to use the NEC family of contracts for the work.

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