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Vinci lifts £30m bus lane scheme

CONTRACTS - WALSALL

FRENCH giant Vinci is set to get the green light for a radical £30 million transport plan in the West Midlands.

Bid sources believe the firm has seen off a challenge from services group Serco to claim preferred bidder status on the Private Finance Initiative scheme in Walsall.

Plans for the project include bus lane improvements worth £15 million and a new computer system that will automatically change traffic lights as buses approach, forcing motorists to stop and allowing buses to pass by unhindered.

The bidding process was held up for several months while the client, Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council, appealed to the Department for Transport for additional funding.

The deal was first advertised in March 2001 but ran into trouble when bids bust the budget set by the council.

Construction work will take up to four years, with the management contract lasting a further 20 years.