Kier Highways took over from Amey in April 2020 for an initial 15 months but will now stay on the contract for at least six more months.
Kier’s client here is not Birmingham City Council but Birmingham Highways Ltd (BHL), a private company owned by Equitix and Pensions Infrastructure Platform.
Birmingham City Council entered into a £2.3bn 25-year highways management and maintenance contract with what was then Amey Birmingham Highways Ltd in under the government’s private finance initiative (PFI). Amey pulled out last year, both as contractor and shareholder.
The contract with Kier was initially due to run only until June 2021, but with options to extend. BHL has exercised its right to trigger the first extension option available and will consider further extension in the future.
Kier’s contract includes the city’s traffic operations, planned and reactive maintenance, inspections and winter servicing. Work is already under way to procure surveys, extend sub-contracts, identify programmes of work and develop a plan for the delivery of services during the extended period. This plan will include aspects of programmed maintenance, including the continuation of street lighting replacement, surfacing works and capital investment.
Kevin Hicks, Birmingham City Council’s assistant director for highways and infrastructure, welcomed the extension. He said: “We have been pleased with Kier’s role in taking over for BHL since April last year, in difficult circumstances with Covid-19 and with a short mobilisation. They have been and continue to be an important part of improving Birmingham’s highway services for the future.”
Since the start of the contract, 288,533 m2 of carriageways and nearly 82,476 m2 of footways have been repaired. This was in addition to ongoing management activities, which saw the team inspect 70,792 km of roads, as well as installing 1,387 new LED street lights and responding to 15,489 customer enquiries.