Leader Albert Bore (Lab) said: 'This will be the UK's largest privately financed roads project to date. It will be worth in excess of £2bn over 25 years and will be a unique opportunity to completely change the appearance of every street in the city.'
The scope of the contract, which will go out to tender in August 2004, includes all elements of highways - roads, footways, street lighting, bridges, traffic signals, street furniture - together with the management of utility works and ongoing maintenance.
Transport minister Tony McNulty said: 'I am very pleased that local authorities are using the private finance initiative as a means of re-thinking services for their local communities. Partnerships like this are providing investments for much-needed improvements in our local public services.'