A Vinci and Ringway joint venture has been named preferred bidder for the £800m Isle of Wight highways PFI deal.
The council’s cabinet chose the team this week for what will be the largest engineering project ever undertaken in the county, covering upgrade and 25-year maintenance of the island’s road, footway and cycleway network.
The Vinci/Ringway team beat the Wight Highways Partnership, led by Colas, with Lloyds and Aggregate Industries. Amey - which last month clinched the £2bn Sheffield highways PFI deal ahead of Carillion/Mouchel - had also bidded for the scheme.
The council said the contract was initially valued at £1.2 billion, but was revised to £800m following the government’s comprehensive spending review, which reduced the government grant element from £360m to the current £260m. The council’s annual contribution will be less than the sum it currently pays to provide the services.
Vinci Concessions designs, finances, builds and operates public infrastructure world wide while Ringway provides highway related infrastructure services to local authorities throughout the UK.
Ringway already carry out the Island’s winter maintenance contract.
The PFI contract includes university bursaries for future civil engineering students, schemes to stabilise highways that suffer ground movement and over 120 schemes to reduce highways flooding. It also covers winter maintenance and roadside verge maintenance programmes as well as its street cleansing operations, street-lighting and CCTV.
Work will begin in April next year with the bulk of the Island’s roads upgraded within the core investment period in the first seven years.
Stuart Love, Isle of Wight Council director of economy and environment, said: “The procurement process has been a complex one but necessarily so as we have had to agree a long-term contract that represents the very best interest of road users and council tax payers.”
A spokesman for Vinci and Ringway added: “We look forward to working with the council to ensure we deliver a high quality, value-for-money service which meets the needs of local people and the Island’s economy.”