Roads roundup

Highways England is to hold briefing events on the new road maintenance regime to be trialled in the East Midlands as an alternative to the Asset Support Contract regime allowing the agency to adopt a more hands-on client role and smaller works packages. The events will be held on the 2nd and 3rd of June and 13 July. 

The Midlands Highway Alliance (MHA) has awarded AECOM and its supply partner Waterman Group a £30M Professional Services Partnership (PSP) contract to deliver multidisciplinary professional design services. Under the three-year contract, which has the option to be extended by an additional year, AECOM and Waterman will support the 20 councils that are members of the MHA on highway projects across the Midlands.

Motor vehicle traffic is the highest it has been since 2008 according to the latest Department for Transport statistics. In 2014 all motor vehicle traffic in Great Britain was 311 billion vehicle miles, 2.4% higher than in 2013. This is 2.4% higher than 2013, and represents the fastest annual growth since 1996.

Costain Skanska Joint venture has won the £600M job to construct two packages of the A14 upgrade in the east of England; package one, covering the section from the A1 at Alconbury to the East Coast Mainline; and package two, covering east of the East Coast Mainline to Swavesey. The third package, to widen the A14 from Swavesey to Milton, is being rebid as Highways England works to get the most from its collaborative delivery framework. The fourth package, for reconstruction of a viaduct over the East Coast Main Line, will be awarded in 2019. The detailed design contract has been awarded to Atkins CH2M joint venture at a total cost of £35.3M. The initial design award is for the development phase at a value of £19.6m.

Drivers in Kent should benefit from better journeys thanks to a new agreement between Kent County Council and Highways England. A new partnership agreement, signed last week will improve planning and communication between the two organisations. The agreement includes: protocols on agreeing and using diversion routes whenever a major road has to close; more flexible use of electronic road signs giving drivers a more complete view of road conditions ahead; setting out how the organisations will work together during major events in Kent; a joined up approach to helping drivers prepare for driving during winter.


Oregon in the US is to trial road pricing to try to plug the shortfall in revenues from fuel tax as cars become more fuel efficient.  A pilot study involving 5,000 motorists starts next month. Volunteers will be charged 1.5 cents (1p) a mile and will be given a credit to offset against the tax they have paid at the petrol pump.

An expert panel brought together by Highways England to encourage excellence in road design has met for the first time and pledged to change thinking and place more emphasis on the importance of good design within the road environment. The panel which comprises experts from the fields of architecture, environment, heritage, design and engineering will be a key forum to encourage design excellence. Highways England chief highways engineer Mike Wilson said:

“We’re charged with delivering less congested roads to enable swift, safe and comfortable journeys and it is important to us that our road network fits within its environment.
We’ve already got some great road design and this an opportunity for us to take it a step further – to get input from other experts, which can only be good for Highways England as we set off on the road to becoming an exemplar of good design.”