Area 10 Asset Support Contract extended

Highways England has opted to extend the Area 10 Asset Support Contract, before replacing it with the new Asset Delivery Model (ADM) which is being rolled out to other Areas of the Strategic Road Network. Area 10, which was awarded to Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald in 2012, has been one of the more successful contracts of the ill-fated ASC initiative, but it too will switch to the new ADM from 2019, Highways England has confirmed.

Problems early on with procurement of some of the ASCs continued into their operation – culminating with the HE and Amey agreeing to abort the contracts in Areas 6 and 8, even though they had previously switched to a negotiated procurement route to get to the bottom of the confusion. Meanwhile the HE has introduced its ADM style of contracting, taking much of the routine and capital maintenance decision-making in-house to build up its understanding of asset management costs. Multiple individual contracts are now awarded for routine, capital and specialist maintenance. Area 7 was the first to trial the ADM approach, followed by Areas 1,2, 13 and 14.

Area 10 will remain operated by BBMM for a further 17 months, which is worth an additional £115m to the joint venture. BBMM is responsible for operating and maintaining 2220 structures and 500km of the Area 10 motorway network around Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside and the southern parts of Lancashire. According to the JV, the contract extension rewards five years of continuous improvement in asset management and renewals scheme delivery. 

“We have an in-depth knowledge of Highways England’s Strategic Road Network with a proven ability to manage Area 10 effectively. Since the contract commenced in 2012, we are delighted to have successfully delivered over 500 Highways England renewal and improvement schemes," said the general manager of Balfour Beatty's Major Projects Highways business, Phil Clifton.

Mott MacDonald’s highways director, Richard Chinn, said: “We are extremely pleased to have secured this contract extension which is a reflection of the commitment shown by the Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald team, building strong working relationships with Highways England colleagues to ensure customers who use the Strategic Road Network in the North West of England receive a service that we are all proud to be associated with.”

A Highways England spokesman confirmed Area 10 will switch to the ADM approach. "The 17 month extension will allow us to get ready for that change," he said. 

Alan Shepherd, Highways England’s North West director, said: “The North West has some of the busiest roads in the country so it is vital drivers experience safe, smooth and reliable journeys. I look forward to continuing to work with Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald over the next year and a half as our main contractor for maintenance and improvement schemes in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and part of Lancashire.”

BBMM added that the contract extension will allow the JV to employ a further four apprentices within the project’s maintenance and response teams, joining Balfour Beatty's seven Atrea 10 apprentices and three graduates and Mott MacDonald's four graduates employed across the contract.