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Skanska/Atkins lands major Highways asset support deal worth up to £400m

An Atkins/Skanska joint venture has been named as the winner of the Highways Agency’s first Asset Support Contract worth up to £400m.

The contract is outcome-based and will be worth between £30m and £80m each year until 2017 and the contract is due to go live from July and run until 2017.

The JV will be responsible for maintaining and improving the network of motorways and major ‘A’ roads in the South West. The contract will cover the agency’s roads in all of the South West apart from Cornwall and parts of Devon, which are covered by a separate contract.

Sources had told CN that the contract was rumoured to have been taken away from a Balfour Beatty/Mott McDonald bid afer ‘concerns over pricing’, however the Highways Agency refused to confirm this when contacted by CN.

The new style Asset Support Contracts are replacing the existing Managing Agent Contractor contracts, and will form the basis of the delivery of maintenance and improvement services for most parts of England’s motorway and trunk road network.

The agency is due to award the second ASC - for roads covering parts of the North West – later this year, with all of its regionally-based maintenance contracts moving to ASCs by 2015.

Five bidders were announced for the Area 10 ASC contract last year: The incumbent A-One+ consortium of Halcrow/Colas/Costain; Atkins/Skanska; Balfour Beatty/Mott MacDonald; Amey; and Enterprise Mouchel.

Atkins’ chief executive Uwe Krueger said: “This is an important win for our UK business and it is the first time the Highways Agency has procured work under their new Asset Support Contract (ASC). Our success has been due to our ability to provide industry-leading skills at a competitive price and we believe it positions us to play a key role in helping to shape the management of the UK’s road network moving forward.”

The Highways Agency’s network development and delivery director Derek Turner said: “I believe that these new contracts deliver the best possible value for money without compromising safety. This is because we are selecting only the most capable and best performing suppliers through competitive, effective and timely commercial procurement.

“The contracts may have changed, but our essential requirements remain the same – a safe and well maintained road network. Contractors will retain their incident support capability, but will be better able to deploy their staff more flexibly.”

Mr Turner added that the HA’s winter fleet will work “as usual” to keep the network open during periods of severe weather and contractors will continue to put road users safety first when carrying out works.

HA South-west regional division director Mike Wilson added: “I am looking forward to working with Atkins Skanska to manage and maintain our network in the South West.

“More than 90 per cent of the Agency’s expenditure is delivered through contractors and that is why we need to work with an efficient, effective and professional supply chain to drive down costs and deliver the highest quality service. I am confident that this new contract will do just that.”

The joint venture has seen off competition from tier one contractors including Balfour Beatty, Amey and Carillion.

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