On the right road

A council is taking a new route in its battle to improve roads in Bucks.

A dynamic new alliance has been forged between Buckinghamshire Council and two experienced household names – Balfour Beatty and Atkins, plus other fringe contractors.

Covering all elements of highways maintenance and repair, including pothole repairs, gully cleansing, street lighting, winter gritting and resurfacing works, the new arrangements allow the council greater control and increase accountability in effectively maintaining the county’s network.

There are almost 2,100 miles of highways and 1,500 miles of footways in the county. Buckinghamshire Highways replaces Transport for Buckinghamshire, which for the previous 13 years managed highways in the county.

The three main players marked the start of their alliance in a new operational hub at the Griffin Lane depot in Aylesbury.

This uses latest technology and has eight 55-inch screens to monitor activities as they happen, track the progress of works on roads and footways and identify where further efficiencies can be made.

It allows operational teams to prioritise work and intervene where required to keep outstanding projects on track, or where reports from the public mean urgent action is needed.

Steven Broadbent, the council’s cabinet member for transport, said: ‘We looked at what wasn’t working so well and have created an organisation that can better respond to the needs of everyone using the highways.’

Balfour Beatty Living Places is the alliance’s new maintenance contractor and a provider of highways maintenance, street lighting and services for local authorities across the UK. Its crews are working out of four depots across the county to keep the highways moving and fix problems.

Steve Helliwell, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty Living Places, said: ‘Collaborative partnerships are essential in delivering best-in-class services for our customers, and for the communities we serve.’

Atkins is the alliance’s new consultancy provider and will be looking after planning, design, engineering and project management services for Buckinghamshire Highways. It will bring extensive experience working with local authorities and in using data and technology to support the improvement of the highways network.

Mike Batheram, Market Director at Atkins, said: ‘We are committed to delivering improved ways of working, including the introduction of new digital approaches and greater customer focus for the benefit of local residents and businesses in Buckinghamshire.”

Buckinghamshire Highways will continue the multi-million-pound investment pledged by the council towards improving county roads.

Earlier this year the council announced a further £5m investment alongside the £100m over four years it has already set aside to deal with worst affected areas.

The extra investment follows on from the impact of recent weather, where the combination of freezing temperatures, followed by long periods of heavy rainfall, have worsened road conditions.

Buckinghamshire Highways launch at the Griffin Lane Operational Hub in Aylesbury. From left to right, Mike Batheram (Market Director at Atkins), Steven Broadbent (Cabinet Member for Transport at Buckinghamshire Council), and Steve Helliwell (Managing Director of Balfour Beatty Living Places)

Fixing it:
Problems on Bucks’ roads and footways can continue to be reported using Fix My Street.

Checking it:
One.network continues to be the way to check for roadworks near a location, find out which firm is carrying them out and when they should be finished.