Following a public consultation about the future of the highway services, the council will be bringing most small-scale operations back in-house
The council maintains a road network of approximately 2,300 kilometres together with pavements, bridges, the City Walls in Chester, traffic lights, streetlights, trees, gullies, cycle routes and public rights of way.
In October 2012, the council entered into a contract with Ringway Infrastructure Services Limited to carry out maintenance operations on the road network.
This contract will expire after its full 10-year term in October 2022.
The Technical Partner Term Maintenance Contract (Hybrid) model means the council will be bringing most small-scale operations back in-house, potholes, gullies, out of hours services from October 2022.
All large-scale schemes and programmes such as resurfacings, surface dressings, will still be carried out via a contract with the technical partner that is to be appointed following a procurement exercise.
It has also been agreed that all current Highways grass and hedge cutting, weed control and sweeping operations will be transferred to the council’s StreetCare Service ahead of the new model from 1 April 2021.
Part of the case for change in highways service delivery is the council’s Climate Emergency Declaration.
The highway network is the council’s largest physical asset and infrastructure plays a big part in the climate change agenda.
The future model presents opportunities in achieving its priority for Climate Emergency:
- ‘Right first time’ repairs – will reduce operational mileage
- Greening the fleet/plant when purchasing or hiring new equipment
- Maximise recycle and reuse of materials
- Innovation in highway materials and technology
- Sustainable management of drainage systems
- Encouraging the use of other modes of transport – less vehicles on the roads will prolong the life of the network and other assets.
Highways service is also currently experiencing high customer demand yet increasingly constrained government budgets.
Karen Shore, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said: “We wanted to find out views on how our service should be delivered when our current highways contract ends in October 2022.
“All feedback was carefully considered and influenced our preferred service delivery model, which has now been brought to Cabinet.
“The preferred model involves using a technical partner, engaged via a procurement process, to carry out all large-scale schemes and specialist programmes such as surface treatments and resurfacing.
“However, a number of highway operations will be sourced in-house; this includes reactive/routine maintenance, gully/drainage cleansing, and winter services.
“This method of delivering our services will provide greater flexibility and control, improve communication channels for customers and directly address many of priority issues raised during the extensive consultation while securing valuable contributions from a technical partner.”