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Four in the hunt for Hounslow’s £1.4bn roads maintenance deal

At least four firms are in the running for the London Borough of Hounslow’s 25-year highways maintenance PFI contract - worth up to £1.4 billion.

It is understood that Vinci, in a consortium with its specialist highway maintenance subsidiary Ringway, met the 15 January deadline for pre-qualification questionnaires.

Balfour Beatty is also believed to have submitted a PQQ, while French-owned Colas and support services heavyweight Amey were also thought to be eyeing up the contract, valued at between £700 million and £1.4bn.

Atkins, which has previously bid for similar local authority projects, is not thought to be bidding for the Hounslow contract.

An industry source said that the project was not as attractive to contractors as alternative PFI maintenance deals on the market from Sheffield City and Isle of Wight councils. “You have to look at the impact that Isle of Wight and Sheffield are having because they’re more lucrative.”

But the source added that the contract could be a route into other work in the capital. “It would be good to be the first in London. Whoever gets that has a proven track record.”

London Borough of Hounslow project director Trevor Wallis said more than a dozen firms had expressed an interest, although it is thought that not all of them submitted PQQs.

Mr Wallis said: “There has been a very good response and we are pleased with the material we have received. It’s sufficient for a viable competition.”

A maximum of six bidders will be invited to submit outline solutions in the first stage of competitive dialogue, which
begins in February.

The bidders will be whittled down and those on a reduced shortlist will submit detailed solutions next February.

A preferred bidder is expected in January 2012 with the contract scheduled to start in June 2012. The contract covers maintenance and refurbishment work across the borough’s 432 km of road carriageways and 762 km of
footways, excluding those managed by Transport for London.

The selected contractor will also be expected to design and build street improvement and car park schemes.

The project has received £267m worth of PFI credits, while the council will be contributing £12.5m per year at 2009/10 prices.

Amey, a Carillion/Mouchel/Scottish and Southern Energy consortium, and Colas/Scott Wilson are in the running for Sheffield City Council’s £2bn PFI scheme. An award is expected in February 2011.

A notice inviting firms to bid for the Isle of Wight PFI project is expected at the end of this month.