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Atkins walks off with huge £300m Oxfordshire highways contract

Atkins is believed to have won Oxfordshire County Council’s £300 million integrated highways maintenance contract, which has the potential to double in value.

The firm was on a strong final shortlist containing Amey - touted as the frontrunner given its headquarters in the county - and a May Gurney/WSP joint venture.

One industry source said: “May Gurney has been quite successful in highway maintenance and Amey are strong in Oxfordshire, but this goes to show that you never know.”

The council is expected to ratify the decision in a cabinet meeting this week. The £30m-a-year job will initially
run for 10 years but the contract could be worth as much as £600m if the council exercises an optional extension of up to 10 years.

EnterpriseMouchel, Balfour Beatty/Halcrow, Colas/Scott Wilson and Ringway/Jacobs were all on a shortlist revealed by Construction News a year ago but were knocked out earlier in the competitive dialogue process.

The contract, which runs from April 2010, will include work on highways maintenance, design, construction, transport planning consultancy as well as vehicle and grounds maintenance.

Meanwhile Amey is currently thought to be in the running for Warwickshire County Council’s £300m highway maintenance deal along with Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Ringway, Colas and Enterprise.

The next local authority road maintenance deals expected to come to market are with West Sussex and Surrey councils, which have both recently ruled out extensions to their current contracts.

Last November West Sussex County Council announced it would not be extending its current maintenance contract - which started in July 2006 - with May Gurney beyond June 2011.

Surrey County Council decided not to extend its road maintenance contracts with Carillion and Ringway beyond 2011 and has announced plans to procure a new contract for work across the whole county this spring.

The current dual contract has been in place since April 2003 and was extended in 2007 until March 2011. It is thought that Ringway will bid for the new Surrey contract but it is not known whether Carillion will also tender.