The Isle of Wight Council has chosen Vinci and its subsidiary Ringway as preferred bidder for its £720M Highway Maintenance PFI.
The deal is the last of the government’s three pathfinder highways maintenance PFIs to be awarded, and was the hardest hit by the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). Preferred bidders for the Sheffield and Hounslow PFIs were announced some months ago.
The government’s grant was slashed from £364.6M to £280M following the CSR and forced the client to enter lengthy negotiations with shortlisted bidders Vinci/Ringway and Colas over scope and price.
At the heart of the PFI project will be the comprehensive upgrade – and maintenance over 25 years – of the Island’s road, footway and cycleway network. Also included will be the council’s winter maintenance and roadside verge maintenance programmes as well as its street cleansing operations. The CCTV network will also be maintained and improved as will the Island’s street-lighting network with the installation of low-energy LED bulbs.
Starting in April 2013, just under £21M will be spent annually upgrading the Island’s roads for the first seven years. This £145M core investment period was extended from the traditional five years partly to mitigate the reduction in government grant but also to minimise disruption in the tourism season.
The project with Vinci not only includes proposals to keep open the highways at some of the Island’s most unstable stretches including the Military Road and Niton Undercliff, similar work to address movement affecting roads will also take place at around a dozen other locations. There will also be at least 120 separate schemes across the Island to tackle stretches of highway prone to rainwater flooding.
The PFI is financed through the government grant and an annual contribution from the council similar to the amount it currently spends on highways services. The total value of the contract to Vinci/Ringway will be £720M over 25 and a half years.