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HA LAUNCHES A13 THAMES GATEWAY DBFO PROJECT

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The Highways Agency has announced the start of the procurement process for the A13 Thames Gateway Design, Build, Fi...
The Highways Agency has announced the start of the procurement process for the A13 Thames Gateway Design, Build, Finance and Operate (DBFO) Project which will provide a vital part of the transport infrastructure needed to regenerate east London and reflects the government's integrated approach to transport.

The publication of the prequalification document is the first step in the competition for bidders to prequalify for the A13 Thames Gateway DBFO Project which is essential for revitalising the area. It will improve east-west access to the Docklands, Lower Lea Valley and other parts of East London. The contract consists of the operation and maintenance of 22 miles (36 km) of road stretching from the City to Tilbury Docks. It includes an estimated£146m of new construction. The contract is expected to be awarded in summer 1999.

Welcoming the news, Baroness Hayman, minister for roads, said:

'This project will provide a vital link in the transport infrastructure needed to regenerate London. It also reflects this government's integrated approach to transport. This has been largely achieved by developing an imaginative payment mechanism which will encourage the private sector to take an active role in road management.'

Key features of the new payment mechanism include incentives to maximise the time that the road, footways and cycleways are available

to users and to reduce accident rates. The payment mechanism is also expected to move away from 'shadow' tolls for cars and focus payment

on public transport and heavy goods vehicle usage, thus ensuring that there is no incentive to increase car numbers.

'The contract will also include using monitoring equipment to help improve accident and incident response times and provides incentives

to improve bus journey time reliability,' added Lady Hayman.

And Lady Hayman concluded: 'By taking this forward as a Design, Build, Finance and Operate project, we are providing clear evidence of this government's commitment to delivering vital transport infrastructure in partnership with the private sector in ways that are in line with our broad strategic transport objectives.'

NOTES

1. The A13 trunk road is a strategic East London/Thameside radial route. At its western end it connects with the City of London while

in the east it connects to the M25 Junction 31 and then continues with a onward connection to Tilbury Docks via the A13 and the A1089. The A13 is largely an urban road with severe traffic congestion problems and a history of poor safety.

2. The DBFO contract will run for 30 years. The successful DBFO company will be required to operate and maintain:

- the existing A13 from Butcher Row in the west to Heathway in the east

- the new A13 bypass from Heathway to Mar Dyke (Junction 30, M25) when the road is open to traffic

- the existing A13/A1089 from Mar Dyke to Tilbury Docks

- and the Limehouse Link, Aspen Way and the East India Dock Link which may also be included within the A13 Thames Gateway DBFO Contract. It will depend on which body retains responsibility for these roads in the future.

The DBFO company will also be required to construct:

- the A13 Ironbridge to Canning Town Improvement consisting of widening and an additional flyover

- the A13/A117 Woolwich Manor Way Improvement consisting of replacing the flyover with a dual three lane road carriageway

- the A13 Movers Lane Improvement consisting of a new dual three lane underpass

- and the A13/A112 Prince Regent Lane may also be included within the A13 Thames Gateway DBFO Contract depending on the completion of statutory procedures. If the improvement goes ahead, it will consist of an underpass, slip roads and a new junction.

3. The following elements of the new payment mechanism are in line with the five key criteria - integration, accessibility, safety, economics and environmental impact - published in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions's What Role for Trunk Roads in England? - 1997.

Availability - payments to the DBFO company will take account of the number of available carriageway lanes. Payments will depend on the time of day e.g. payments for keeping the road available during peak hours will be higher than the payments for off-peak hours. This method of payments is an incentive for the private sector to manage their maintenance programme to avoid disruption to road users at busy times. There are also separate payments for footway and cycleway availability.This encourages the DBFO company to fully consider the needs of the non-motorised user;

HGV/Bus 'shadow' tolls - 'shadow' tolls for heavy goods vehicles and public transport give the DBFO company incentives to effectively manage these types of vehicles while providing no incentive to increase car commuting;

Safety payment mechanism - incentives will further be developed be reduce accident rates;

Bus journey time reliability - a small proportion of the DBFO company's revenues may be linked to the reliability of bus journey times; and

Generation of ideas - the private sector will be encouraged to develop ideas which are supportive of government policy.

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