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Hampshire gets a double jobs boost today with the award of a major roads contract to the county council and a Winch...
Hampshire gets a double jobs boost today with the award of a major roads contract to the county council and a Winchester-based private firm.

They are the first in the country to be awarded new 'super agency' contracts for managing the upkeep of motorways and trunk roads.

Hampshire CC and Mott MacDonald will manage repairs and improvements to the strategic road network for the region on behalf of the Highways Agency. The contract covers not just roads in Hampshire, but also Surrey, West Sussex and small parts of Dorset, Wiltshire, Berkshire and East Sussex. About 370 miles of trunk roads and motorways is involved - more than double the 175 miles for which Hampshire CC is now responsible.

Alan Rowland, director of the Highways Agency Southern Network Management and Maintenance Division, said:

'This should be good news for staff employed in the county surveyor's department as it gives greater job opportunities. I would ask him to pass on my congratulations to his people for helping put together a successful bid which was the clear winner for this area.

'Congratulations, too on the vision of the authority for taking-up the challenge to work in partnership with a commercial company.

'The county council has great local knowledge and vast experience of maintaining a very important part of the motorway and trunk road network. But it can only benefit from the introduction of the private sector knowledge and approach that Mott MacDonald can undoubtedly offer.

'It's not just good new for Hampshire and Mott, though. It's also excellent news for the taxpayer, who will see increased economies in the way roads are repaired and improved. And it's excellent news for the road user, who will see roads repaired and improved more efficiently.'

Nationally, the Highways Agency is streamlining the number of agents doing the work - mostly county councils - from 82 to 24. The idea is to repair and improve roads more efficiently and for better value to the taxpayer via agencies operating in larger, more strategically-based areas.

The Hampshire/Mott contract covers what is known as Area 3 and includes the M3, M25 (junctions 6 to 14), M23, M27, A23 (Crawley to Brighton bypass), A27 (Brighton/A23 to M27), A3 (Cobham to M27), A34 (Chieveley to Winchester), A303 (Wylye to M3) and A31 (Bere Regis to M27).

Roads minister John Watts said: 'These exciting new agreements will allow us to introduce competition from the private sector into work which has been largely a local authority reserve. Planning and management of road repairs and improvements can now cover an entire strategic region rather than be limited within local government boundaries.

'I hope Hampshire's success in winning one of the first two contracts will encourage other local authorities to realise that they still have a valuable role to play. We remain keen to benefit from the counties' experience and local knowledge where this is possible.'

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